Cory Barr's wife remembers her late husband

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SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. (WMTV) -- Cory Barr's wife, Abby Barr, is working to ensure her daughters think of their father as more than just a memory.

Cory Barr, captain of the Sun Prairie Volunteer Fire Department and owner of the Barr House, passed away Tuesday while working at the explosion site, said Mahlon Mitchell, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin.

Barr was responding to a gas leak that triggered an explosion in downtown Sun Prairie around 6:20 p.m. Tuesday, which caused significant damage to surrounding buildings and resulted in the evacuation of residents in the area.

Abby Barr said that she and her husband had just finished a pizza dinner when he received the call.

“They had gotten an initial call for a gas leak. Shortly after that our bartender called saying there was gas smell in the bar,” she said. “He said he was going try and see if he could have someone come in with a measuring device to check the levels. But then shortly after that she called back to say they were evacuating. And around the same time, I think it was changed to an all call page, so they were requesting more help. He just looked at me and kind of smiled like I’m going to go down there.”

That would be the last time Barr saw her husband.

“I still haven’t fully grasped it yet,” she said. “I have moments of time where I kind of feel ok, but I feel ok because I feel like it’s not real, that he’s just at the fire station or at the bar and that he’ll be home tonight or in the morning and I’ll get another hug or another kiss.”

Despite her own loss, Barr said that one of the hardest parts about the situation will be telling her three-year-old twin daughters.

“They haven’t asked yet where he is, so I haven’t bothered to try to talk to them about it because they’re at an age where I don’t think they’ll understand if I were to,” she said. “I want to tell them and tell them the truth. But I’m kind of waiting for them to ask.”

Barr described Cory as not only a great husband, but a great father, firefighter, and business owner.

“He worked hard but he loved everything he did,” she said. “He loved the fire department. He loved the bar. He put in long hours but to him, it was fun, that was his dream. And then family time he gives it his all too.”

Bethlehem Lutheran Church, the church the Barr family belongs to, has started a GoFund Me page to raise money for the family’s expenses.