Late Tuesday evening, tragedy struck Sun Prairie when a gas leak caused a mass explosion. Emergency services moved swiftly to try and combat the flames engulfing large areas of the downtown area, but firefighter Captain Cory Barr was killed. More than a dozen others were injured.
As the flames diminished, the tough part of trying to rebuild and heal began. The city of Sun Prairie hosted a procession for Barr, and many community members came out to pay their respects. Barr was the captain of the Sun Prairie Volunteer Fire Department and owner of the Barr House Tavern on Main Street, which was damaged in the explosion. Barr was a father of two and, according to his wife, an excellent husband.
In an effort to try and help the Barr Family, many are contributing to the family’s GoFundMe page. One donation caught the eye of many, as a $10,000 donation was made in the name of “Justin Watt.” We are all familiar with the Watt name, and many started to put together that the contribution was made by former Wisconsin legend and current Houston Texans All-Pro J.J. Watt. Early this morning, GoFundMe confirmed to WKOW’s Amy Gill that the donation did in fact come from Watt.
This donation exemplifies Watt’s character as a man who frequently gives back. In May, Watt offered to pay for funerals of victims in the Santa Fe High School shooting. Earlier this year, he donated to Houston relief efforts following Hurricane Harvey, which led to him receiving the 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. Watt also contributed to a high school football player who needed brain surgery last fall.
While each effort is heroic, this tragedy likely hits closer to home for Watt. Pewaukee, where Watt grew up, is no more than an hour away from Sun Prairie. In addition, Watt’s father also served as a firefighter for 28 years.
To donate to the Barr family, please visit the GoFundMe page in their name.