Subcontractor cooperating with investigators of Sun Prairie explosion

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. (WBAY) - A subcontractor for Verizon was working in downtown Sun Prairie prior to Tuesday's deadly explosion, according to a statement obtained by our Madison partner station NBC 15.

Deadly natural gas explosion in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin | Image Source: John Willems / Facebook / MGN

Investigators have not yet determined the cause of the explosion. Bear Communications says it is speaking with investigators to help give them a timeline of what happened.

Bear Communications says in the statement:

"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 tragedy.

A subcontractor of Bear Communications was performing work on site before the explosion, but there are many questions that remain to be answered as the investigation continues. 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."

Verizon says the subcontractor was working on a fiber project for the Madison area to improve its wireless service.

On July 10, Sun Prairie firefighters received a report that a contractor had hit a natural gas line downtown. Firefighters were in process of evacuating businesses and residents when there was an explosion.

Sun Prairie Firefighter Cory Barr was killed in the blast.

His business, Barr House, was among the buildings destroyed.

"This community lost a champion of downtown Sun Prairie," Patrick Depula, a business owner and friend of Barr, said. "I don't think his legacy is going to be forgotten, and I think the spirit that he embodies is essentially the spirit of Sun Prairie, and Sun Prairie's going to get through this as a community."

Barr's wife, Abby, called her husband and father of their twin girls the "best husband a girl could ask for."

"The outpouring of messages coming in about him and how wonderful he was... it's not people saying it, it's true. It's 110 percent true. He'd give the shirt off his back," Abby Barr said.

Five other firefighters were hurt in the explosion. A police officer and several civilians also suffered injuries.

The Sun Prairie Volunteer Fire Department announced Thursday that injured firefighter Ryan Welch was being released from the hospital. An official escort was scheduled for Thursday evening.

Click here for the Benefit for the Family of Cory Barr online fundraiser.