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Capt. Cory Barr processional

Fire trucks and ambulances from throughout southern Wisconsin line up for a processional to escort the body of Sun Prairie firefighter Capt. Cory Barr from the Dane County Medical Examiner's Office late Wednesday. Barr died from injuries he suffered in an explosion Tuesday in downtown Sun Prairie while was responding to a report of a gas leak near his Barr House restaurant and bar, which was leveled by the blast.

Following a Wednesday night processional of about 100 emergency service vehicles in tribute to the Sun Prairie firefighter killed in an explosion in the city’s downtown, firefighters from across the country are planning to pay their respects at a memorial service this weekend.

Fire trucks and ambulances from dozens of departments escorted the body of Sun Prairie Volunteer Fire Department Capt. Cory Barr from the Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office in the town of Cottage Grove to Tuschen-Newcomer Funeral Home in Sun Prairie.

Barr was killed Tuesday in a gas leak explosion in Downtown Sun Prairie while helping evacuate the area.

Barr House, the bar he owned with his wife, Abby, and several other buildings on the 100 blocks of East and West Main Street were leveled or damaged in the blast that injured several others.

Barr’s brother, Chad Barr, described riding in the processional as overwhelming.

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Cory Barr and family

Sun Prairie volunteer firefighter Capt. Cory Barr, right, photographed with his wife, Abby, and 3-year-old twin daughters, died after a natural gas explosion Tuesday destroyed several buildings in the city's downtown, including the couple's Barr House restaurant and bar.

“What really got to me was the outpouring of the community,” he said.

Sun Prairie residents lined the streets of the processional route to mourn the loss of Barr, who was known throughout the small city for his friendly character and compassion.

Chad Barr said some fire departments drove for hours to show support.

A private service for Barr’s family on Friday will be followed by a public memorial Saturday morning at Sun Prairie High School, 888 Grove St.

There will be a visitation at the high school from 8 to 10 a.m., according to Capt. Becky Gruber. A service will follow at 11 a.m.

Chad Barr said fire companies from across the country are making their way to Sun Prairie for Saturday’s service. He said it shows the impression Barr’s life and actions left on the community and among firefighters.

“Cory was a hero, but he didn’t do what he did to be a hero,” Chad Barr said. “That’s just the kind of person he was.”

U.S. and Wisconsin flags will also be flown half-staff throughout the state through Saturday in honor of Barr, following an order issued Thursday by Gov. Scott Walker.

“Capt. Cory Barr dedicated his life to protecting his community,” Walker said in a statement. “Cory’s memory and legacy of selflessness and service will live on through his wife, daughters and the members of his crew.”

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Cory Barr processional, Footville firefighters
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Cory Barr processional, line of fire trucks
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Cory Barr processional, Belleville-Exeter-Montrose Fire Department
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Cory Barr processional, Black Earth Joint Fire Department
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Cory Barr processional, Burke-Bristol-Sun Prairie truck 1

Shelley K. Mesch is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal. She earned a degree in journalism from DePaul University.