Sun Prairie holds remembrance event one year after deadly gas explosion

NOW: Sun Prairie holds remembrance event one year after deadly gas explosion

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- It's been one year since a deadly explosion rocked downtown Sun Prairie.

The explosion happened on June 10, 2018, after a subcontractor installing fiber communication lines hit a gas main. The gas ignited, sending a towering fireball into the evening sky. 

Sun Prairie Fire Captain Cory Barr was killed in the blast that destroyed the bar he owned, five other businesses, and a home. Eleven other people were hurt, including five firefighters and a police officer.

A search warrant revealed the gas line that caused the explosion wasn't properly marked and none of the parties involved were found criminally responsible. 

One year later, the Sun Prairie community is still recovering from the gas explosion.

Empty space where buildings once stood serves as a daily reminder of the tragedy that happened there.

Hundreds in the Sun Prairie community stood outside the fire station together on Wednesday.

“Their willingness to risk their lives, saved the lives of 150 people that evening,” Mayor Paul Esser said.

Fire Captain Barr left behind his wife Abby Barr and their two children.

“The support from family, friends, and the community…I can feel all their prayers, and I can feel all their thoughts carrying me forward every day,” Abby said.

Abby not only lost the love of her life, but their dream too – their bar and restaurant, The Barr House was destroyed in the explosion.

What’s left as a reminder is a storefront sign with the word “stronger” on it.

The words “Sun Prairie Stronger” could be seen among the crowd of hundreds Wednesday.

“We’re all in it together,” community member Karen Mileham said. “Together we support these guys. The more we do, the better for them.”

With a heavy heart, Barr’s widow Abby walked hand-in-hand with loved ones and an entire community standing right beside her Wednesday.

“Because of you, I have learned what it means to be selfless, brave, strong, courageous, and how to love unconditionally,” Abby said.

The community spoke about moving forward, but never forgetting.

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