Sun Prairie Captain Cory Barr killed in downtown explosion

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One firefighter has died and another was critically injured in a gas explosion and fire that leveled several buildings in downtown Sun Prairie. "The fire itself is a result of the explosion".

The explosion rocked the downtown area of Sun Prairie, a suburb of Madison, after a contractor struck a natural gas main Monday, sending an unknown number of people to hospitals, authorities said.

Firefighters and police in the community of about 30,000 had responded and Konopacki said an evacuation was underway when the blast occurred.

The area is about half a block from City Hall. After it's deemed safe, officials will investigate what caused the explosion.

Police said they were called to the area around 6:20 p.m. for complaints of the smell of gas, and then there was an explosion.

Barr's wife and business co-owner Abby Barr told WISC-TV her husband was a volunteer fire captain.

Four other firefighters, a police officer and seven civilians were also hurt, Konopacki said.

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"We open at 5 am, so if you need refuge, a shower or just a place to be calm and cool for a while, please come and see us at the Y", it said in a statement. It's what he loved to do.

According to a GoFundMe account, Barr was 34-years-old. He said he's known Barr for several years. "I don't know what I'm going to do without him".

The Red Cross reported it was setting up a reception area for evacuees at Sun Prairie High School.

"He was very, very proud of Sun Prairie and the community he lived in", DePula said.

Sun Prairie Fire Chief Christopher Garrison told the Associated Press that the department is grieving over Barr's death.

Schulze said WE Energies was still working Wednesday afternoon to restore gas service to the 500 customers who were affected by the explosion.

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