Judge denies motion to dismiss wrongful death lawsuit filed by widow of Sun Prairie captain

SUN PRAIRIE -- A Dane County judge has denied a motion to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit on Monday afternoon, May 20.

The judge said she needs more information to make a ruling on public policy. The oral arguments were heard for the civil lawsuit.

The lawsuit is against the companies involved in the Sun Prairie explosion in July 2018 that led to the death of Captain Cory Barr. Those companies are being sued by Barr’s widow after a gas main was hit by a drill leading to the fiery explosion in downtown Sun Prairie.

Federal safety regulators cited two contractors for failing to locate the gas man that exploded.

A VC Tech employee punctured the line while installing fiber optics, resulting in the blast that leveled half a city block and killed Barr.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced in January that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited VC Tech and the contractor that hired the firm, Kansas-based Bear Communications, $12,934 each. The citations asserted neither contractor contacted We Energies, the utility that owns the line, or Digger's Hotline to ascertain the main's location.