Sun Prairie is still reeling from an explosion that killed one firefighter and left a dozen people injured.
Now members of the small city of 32,000 are left to pick up the pieces and search for answers as they mourn the loss of one of their own.
12 Sun Prairie residents that were transported to the hospital Tuesday are still alive tonight.
And while there are many brave servicemen to thank for that, there’s one that will never receive a thank you for his years of service: Cory Barr.
“A 15 year veteran with our organization, a gentleman that I promoted to captain, a community member, a business owner in the community, a great father,” says Sun Prairie fire chief Christopher Garrison. “We didn’t lose a firefighter yesterday. We lost a family member.”
More than 100 residents were evacuated from apartments and businesses after a gas leak.
The rescue efforts didn’t allow time for people to gather belongings, but they were quickly rushed to safety.
“They were screaming at us to get and they were very adamant about us vacating and getting out of harms way,” says evacuated resident Steve Owen.
“With the life-saving efforts for the most part completed today, the investigation has started in earnest in that we anticipate we will be on scene for several days,” says Sun Prairie police chief Pat Anhalt.
Cory was investigating the gas leak near his restaurant, The Barr House.
It was where he was injured.
It was that courageousness his wife admired about him.
“I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have known him,” says Abby Barr. “And have him be a part of my life and be an excellent father to my girls.I don’t know what I’m going to do without him.”
It’s a loss his fellow firefighters will take in stride.
For the man who meant so much to Sun Prairie.
“We lost a friend, we lost a dear friend and we will be affected forever,” says Garrison. “But we will continue to build strength and be a better organization with Cory’s legacy in our hearts.”
Many residents who were forced out of their homes are finding refuge with the help of the United Way.
There is a GoFundMe page to assist Cory Barr’s family amidst his loss.
Football player JJ Watt has already donated $10,000 to that fund.