SUN PRAIRIE — Funeral arrangements have been set for Sun Prairie Fire Captain Cory Barr, who died after a natural gas explosion in downtown Sun Prairie on Tuesday, July 10.
There will be a private visitation on Friday night, July 13 at the Tuschen Newcomer Funeral Home on Columbus Street in Sun Prairie.
The funeral will be held on Saturday, July 14 at 11 a.m. at Sun Prairie High School on Grove Street in Sun Prairie. The family has welcomed the community to join in remembering Captain Barr at the Sun Prairie High School main entrance (888 Grove Street) between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Saturday.
CLICK HERE to access a GoFundMe.com account set up to support Captain Barr’s family.
Officials said Captain Barr was helping to evacuate residents after a contractor struck a gas main in downtown Sun Prairie on Tuesday evening when the explosion rocked downtown. He died from his injuries.
Barr had been with the department for 15 years. He also worked as a real estate agent and owned the Barr House. Sun Prairie Fire Chief Chris Garrison said Barr and his fellow firefighters and police evacuated 115 people before the blast. Authorities said five other firefighters, a police officer and five civilians were hurt and transported to a hospital. The firefighters included two who were caught in the blast with Barr. All had been released by Wednesday evening except for one firefighter, who was upgraded from critical to stable condition.
Barr’s wife, Abby Barr, said in a statement that Cory Barr was “the best husband a girl could ask for” and lived his life by the motto “happy wife, happy life.” The couple was raising twin daughters who just turned 3 years old. She said the girls would run up to him screaming “Daddy’s home!” whenever he walked through the door.
“He was so outgoing, goofy, big-hearted, and would give the shirt off his back to anyone,” she said. “To say that our family is devastated and heart-broken is an understatement.”
Hundreds of people lined the streets in Sun Prairie and beyond as a procession of fire trucks escorted the body of a fallen firefighter to a funeral home.
Some people held candles Wednesday night, others held signs to pay their respects to Cory Barr and support his family, which includes his wife Abby and 3-year-old twin girls.
Fire trucks from across the region participated in the procession from the Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office in McFarland to the Tuschen-Newcomer Funeral Home in Sun Prairie.
Firefighters were back at the scene about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday when a small fire re-ignited at Glass Nickel Pizza.
The blast in downtown Sun Prairie happened after police got a call at 6:30 p.m. that a construction crew working on a downtown street had punctured a WE Energies natural gas line. Police and firefighters arrived to investigate and were evacuating the area when the gas exploded shortly after 7 p.m. The blast ignited four-story high flames that burned long into the night and belched a smoke plume visible for miles.
At least five buildings were damaged, including the Barr House tavern, Glass Nickel Pizza and a steak restaurant, according to a news release on the city’s website.