Nederland man indicted for arson at Port Arthur funeral home

Published 12:20 am Friday, October 16, 2020

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The July fire that damaged some of Grammier-Oberle Funeral Home causing some services to be moved has been deemed arson, and a Nederland man was indicted for the fire.

Christopher Wayne Dyess, 43, was arrested Aug. 24, for the July 15 fire. He remains in the Jefferson County Correctional Facility on a $50,000 bond.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Dyess was reportedly upset at a person at the funeral home over something that happened earlier in the day. The document did not state what the issue was about.

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A person associated with the funeral home, located at 4841 39th St., told a Port Arthur Fire Department investigator he did not want to give a statement because he was afraid Dyess would kill him and accused Dyess of being a member of the Aryan Circle Gang.

The investigation showed Dyess allegedly showed up later that day with a two-liter jug with gasoline in it and told a man associated with the business he was “going to burn the funeral home.”

The male with the funeral home said he and Dyess walked to the back of the funeral home and he stood by the dumpster while Dyess walked to the back door of the funeral home.

He then heard a noise that sounded like glass breaking and saw Dyess throw the two-liter jug inside the back door. He did not see what Dyess used to start the fire because he took off running toward Jack in The Box nearby. Once he got to the restaurant he looked back and reportedly saw Dyess running toward him and saw smoke coming out the back door of the funeral home. He added the smoke was coming from the same door to where Dyess had thrown the two-liter jug.

The document does not state what occurred after the male ran to the restaurant.

Port Arthur Fire Department got a call at approximately 12:30 a.m. and responded with four trucks plus the battalion chief’s vehicle.