Procession honors Sun Prairie Fire Captain Cory Barr; killed in gas explosion

BREAKING: Gas EXPLOSION completely destroys buildings in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, USA

A suburban community near Madison, Wisconsin was thrown into panic last night after contract workers struck a natural gas main and caused an explosion that set several buildings on fire.

Five other firefighters, a police officer and at least six civilians were hurt, according to Sun Prairie police Lt. Kevin Konopacki.

Captain Barr was caught in the explosion as he was working to evacuate people from the area, Fire Chief Chris Garrison said during a news conference Wednesday evening. "I don't think his legacy is going to be forgotten, and I think the spirit that he embodies is essentially the spirit of Sun Prairie, and Sun Prairie's going to get through this as a community".

"We were told that a contractor did strike one of our natural gas mains", said Amy Jahns, spokesperson for We Energies.

Fire crews worked into the evening and flames could still be seen from Sun Prairie High School, almost one mile away just before midnight.

The blast that occurred in Sun Prairie at around 7.15pm ignited a fire that sent billowing smoke that could be seen for miles around. He also worked as a real estate agent and owned the Barr House - destroyed in the blast. He said some civilians suffered minor injuries, but none required hospitalization. The blaze took at least three hours to put out, and by the end of it, a firefighter was killed while several others were reportedly hospitalized. We are hurt, but we will come back, ' Chief Garrison said.

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Authorities evacuated buildings within a half-mile (0.8 kilometer) radius from the center of the explosion. As of 2:15 p.m. on July 11, the fundraiser had exceeded its goal - $20,184 of $15,000.

Barr was 2002 Sun Prairie High School graduate.

Barr and his wife, Abby, bought the former Ski's Saloon in 2016 and renamed it Barr House, remodeling the tavern and continuing its friendly neighborhood hangout vibe.

"I was right down there and it's a tough job and they do it and they're volunteers - and you just can't say enough for what they do", said Chuck Wagner.

"It shook the whole building", Thompson said.

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