Contractor for Bear Communications was working on site during Sun Prairie natural gas explosion

SUN PRAIRIE -- A subcontractor working for Bear Communications was working on site at the time of a deadly natural gas explosion earlier this week, the company revealed Thursday.

"First and foremost, our condolences and prayers go out to the family of Sun Prairie volunteer fire department Capt. Cory Barr who lost his life in the explosion. Our prayers also go out to those injured in the accident. We share in the community’s shock and sadness over this accident," Bear Communications said in a statement.

"We are fully cooperating with investigators so they can develop a comprehensive overview of what happened and why. Since this is an ongoing investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment any further."

Barr's wife says she couldn't have asked for a better husband.

Barr was killed Tuesday when a natural gas explosion leveled most of a city block, including the tavern Barr owned.

His wife Abby Barr told TODAY'S TMJ4 they received a call that his tavern had been evacuated. 

"We just got done eating dinner together. He got a call from our bartender saying they evacuated. And then I think he was paged out as an on-call," Abby said. "Because of his passion for the fire service, he’s like I’m going to go down there."

Neither him, nor Abby knew that dinner would be their last together. 

"There’s not a lot of nights we had to have dinner and stay home all night," she said. "It’s just in his nature. He’s a firefighter. He wanted to go down there. He was like I’m going to go down there, check in. I don’t think he realized how bad it was."

The next call she got was that Cory, the love of her life, had died. 

"It’s amazing how you can lose so much in such a little, short amount of time. Something that means so much to you, I just don’t know where to go from here," Abby said.

Abby doesn't know how to tell her daughters that their daddy isn't coming home. 

"I haven’t said anything to them because they haven’t asked yet. That’s the question I’m fearing the most, is where’s daddy. And I’m not 100 percent confident in what I’m going to tell them yet," Abby said.

Cory was a volunteer firefighter for more than 15 years. Other voltmeter firefighters who were like brothers to him are making sure Abby and her 3-year-old twin daughters are not alone. 

"We will be strong together," said Thane Westermeyer, the Sun Prairie Department Assistant Chief of Operations. "We will get Abby and the girls through this difficult time and we’re going to be there for the good times and bad that come."

For information about how you can help Barr's family and those affected by the explosion, visit the GoFundMe site set up to help those impacted. 

Abby also released the following statement Wednesday: 

There are not enough words in the English language to describe how wonderful of a man Cory was. He was the best husband a girl could ask for. He lived by the “Happy Wife, Happy Life” motto. He couldn’t have been a better dad to our twin girls, who just had their 3rd birthday. They looked up to him and would run screaming “Daddy’s Home” every time he would walk in the door. Cory loved the fire department. He was the first firefighter to join the department when they changed the age limit from 21 to 18. This allowed him to be on the department for 15 years. His passion for the fire service was unremarkable. He was also able to follow in his grandparents footsteps and open a bar in a location that had so much sentimental value to him and I – The Barr House. He loved the commandry a bar brings and the friendships that can develop. I have yet to hear somebody ever have a bad thing to say about him. He was so outgoing, goofy, big-hearted, and would give the shirt off his back to anyone. To say that our family is devastated and heart broken is an understatement. We greatly appreciate all the offers of help, kind words, and prayers everyone has offered. I am in awe at how much a community can come together to lift up those in pain. God wanted this dedicated and passionate firefighter by his side.


We are still wrapping our heads around all the events that have occurred over the past 24 hours.

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