Community Comes Together to Pay For Funeral Costs After Independence Fire

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

INDEPENDENCE, Iowa - Family and friends in Independence are getting ready to say goodbye to a child taken too soon.

Jaileigh Posey, 7, died in a fire at her family's apartment in Independence on June 28. Fire investigators are still trying to find the cause of the fire. It broke out in a four-plex building at 1100 Second Street NE in Independence.

The child's father, Steve Posey, suffered burns and smoke inhalation when he tried to save Jaileigh from the raging fire. Friends said he's still recovering in the hospital.

Reiff Funeral Home in Independence is holding the funeral services for Jaileigh. They're waiting for her father to get out of the hospital before that can happen. In the meantime, the community is stepping up to show their support for their family.

"The community's outpouring is just phenomenal," said Reiff Funeral Home Owner Robert Reiff.

Hearts in Independence are broken, hurting for a little girl and her big smile.

"It's tough for me to talk about it because the generosity is so much there to help a family in need like this," Reiff said.

Reiff runs the funeral home that's organizing services for little Jaileigh. His staff wanted to play their part to help the family with a funeral that can get pricey.

"My staff heard about it and came to me and said you know, when this call comes in, we don't want to be paid, and so we are not charging anything for what we do," Reiff said.

Then Robert put in a call to his suppliers, people like Mike Brannon. His business in Dubuque has been providing grave stones for Independence and Eastern Iowa for decades.

"He didn't have to say much before I offered our services for a nice memorial for the daughter," Brannon said.

Mike isn't alone. In fact, it didn't take long at all before the entire funeral had been paid for.

"The suppliers have stepped forward and donated the casket and the vault and everything pertaining to the funeral," Reiff said.

A couple who wished to stay anonymous even bought the grave space for the family at a local cemetery.

"It's just great when people don't have to ask for help," Brannon said.

"Everyone is stepping forward to be a part of that, and really makes you feel like you are in a nice community," Reiff said.

The funeral home owner says the family will need a lot of help once Steve gets out of the hospital. Security State Bank has a fund set up for donations. Checks can be made out to the "Posey Family Benefit Fund" and sent P.O. Box 511 in Independence.

The family also lost all their clothing in the fire. Immanuel Lutheran Church is helping with that collection. The address is 512 5th street NE in Independence if anyone wants to drop clothes off.
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