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Sun Prairie Fire Dept. will install Barr memorial statue

(NBC15)
Published: May. 28, 2019 at 9:42 AM CDT
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A bronze statue honoring a Sun Prairie firefighter who lost his life during a 2018 explosion will be placed in front of the Sun Prairie Fire Department.

The Sun Prairie City Council approved a $20,000 budget amendment on May 21 to purchase and install the $30,000 commemorating the loss of Captain Cory Barr. The fire department will pay the additional $10,000.

The action comes after Sun Prairie Fire Chief Chris Garrison sent a letter to council members.

“July 10th, 2018 will always be a day of celebration because of the lives that were saved, but it will always remain a tragedy in the hearts of others,” wrote Garrison. “A City lost a good man and business owner, a department lost a brother, a family lost a husband, a father, a son and a brother, and the world lost a smile. “

Authorities determined the explosion was caused after an unmarked gas line was cut, resulting in a gas leak. The explosion killed Capt. Barr and injured 11 people, including five other firefighters and a police officer. Several buildings were leveled.

The statue will be of a firefighter holding Capt. Barr’s helmet and stand in front of the fire station on Bristol and Angell Streets. It will be two-thirds the size of a normal person.

“This location and statue is the desire of Cory’s wife Abby, and is meant to commemorate Cory’s ultimate sacrifice and to remind us that we may never be complacent and forget that this tragedy could happen, even in Sun Prairie,” stated Garrison.

Abigail Barr, the widow of Capt. Cory filed a lawsuit in December claiming VC Tech, Bear Communications, USIC Locating Services and WEC Energy Group, known as WE Energies, are responsible for her husband’s death in the explosion.

Last week, a Dane County judge denied motions to dismiss the lawsuit.

Bear Communications and VC Tech were cited by the Occupational Safety and Health administration for not identifying the location of an underground gas line.

Sun Prairie Fire Chief Chris Garrison Memo on April 23

On July 10, 2018, our Fire Department went to battle with our skilled Police, EMS, and Public Works partners by our side. We walked into an escalating situation that was impossible to predict. Migrating natural gas distributed through veins of the city’s 140-year infrastructure. All Emergency Personnel on the scene knew what could happen and continued the task of getting all residents out of the hot-zone. As sworn protectors of the public, we will always “Risk a lot to save a lot” and all of our first responders stayed true to this course that fateful day as we evacuated more than 250 residents from the hot zone. Every firefighter knows that they are susceptible to this type of tragedy. We as firefighters go to work every day knowing we are doing something positive, and as First Responders, we never hesitate to put our lives on the line to save others.On that fateful day, Captain Cory Barr did not come home. Cory along with other public safety professionals worked diligently to help others, putting the lives of residents of the City of Sun Prairie and their safety above their own. July 10th, 2018 will always be a day of celebration because of the lives that were saved, but it will always remain a tragedy in the hearts of others. A City lost a good man and business owner, a department lost a brother, a family lost a husband, a father, a son and a brother, and the world lost a smile.We as an organization want to recognize the contributions and departmental loss we experienced as well as those that many others may have experienced from that day. We are requesting assistance to have built a bronze statue of a Firefighter holding Cory’s helmet. The statue would stand in front of the fire station on Bristol and Angell. This location and statue is the desire of Cory’s wife Abby, and is meant to commemorate Cory’s ultimate sacrifice and to remind us that we may never be complacent and forget that this tragedy could happen, even in Sun Prairie.The Cost of the project is approximately $30,000. The Statue is estimated at $25,000 and will be at a 2/3 scale of a normal size person, the pedestal that it will sit on is estimated at an additional $5,000. This would be a great way to honor Cory’s life and all the First Responders involved.Sun Prairie Fire & Rescue is requesting The City of Sun Prairie’s assistance of $20,000 and the department will pay the additional $10,000. Please see the attached proposal from Brodin Studios.