Cory Barr is the firefighter who died following the natural gas explosion on Tuesday night in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. Barr’s friends and family identified him on Wednesday morning, and his wife, Amy Barr, confirmed her husband’s death on her Facebook page.
The explosion on Tuesday took place after a contractor accidentally his a gas main. Emergency services were called, and the area was evacuated when suddenly, at around 7:15PM, there was a massive explosion. In total, six firefighters were sent to the hospital with injuries. So far, Cory Barr has been the only death.
A witness said that the force of the explosion literally lifted a building a little way up into the air. The witness, Steve Owen, said that he himself was knocked back in his chair. He described running outside and seeing a ball of orange fire.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Barr Was a Caption of the Sun Prairie Fire Department
The Sun Prairie Fire Department is an all-volunteer department. Its website lists just two captains: Cory Barr, whose title is administrative captain, and John Austad, Division Chief.
Volunteer fire fighters are required to be on call in case of any emergency. They are also required to put in a time commitment. The job description says that members are required to attend 12 of 24 drills, 6 of 12 business meetings, and 25% of all fire calls during the year.
2. Barr’s Own Bar Was Heavily Damaged in the Blast
The explosion on Tuesday night centered around a pub owned by Cory Barr. The Barr House is a beloved bar on Main Street, in Sun Prairie. The force of the explosion caused “heavy damage” to Barr House and to the nearby Glass Nickel Pizza.
The bar’s Facebook page is full of rave reviews from its patrons. The bar offers Bingo nights, trivia quizzes, and even meat raffles.
3. Barr Had a Wife, Abby, and Young Twin Daughters
Barr’s wife, Abby, posted a message on her facebook page saying, “Trying to find the words, and not sure how I can. The husband, the father of my children, a son, an uncle, a brother, and so many other things was taken from this world tonight way too soon.”
4. Barr Also Owned His Own Realty Business
According to Barr’s Facebook account, he spent around a year working at Preferred Realty Group, in Madison Wisconsin, before leaving to open his own realty business.
5. A GoFundMe Campaign to Help Barr’s Family Has Already Surpassed Its Goal
There has been a huge outpouring of support for Cory Barr’s family. WISC-TV, a station in Madison Wisconsin, posted a story about Cory on its Facebook page. The comments under the story quickly filled up with people sending prayers to Cory and his family. Many of the commenters said they had gone to school with Cory, or were familiar with his bar.
A GoFundMe campaign was started to help Cory Barr’s family. The campaign aimed to raise $15,000 but by Wednesday afternoon, it had already reached $16,100.
Sun Prairie is a suburb of Madison, Wisconsin with a population of just under 30,000 people. The town of Sun Prairie was created in 1846.