Sun Prairie Fire Dept. will install Barr memorial statue

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SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. (WMTV)-- 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.

Example of statue that will be installed in front of Sun Prairie Fire Station 1
Example of statue that will be installed in front of Sun Prairie Fire Station 1