WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The parents of Watertown firefighter Peyton Morse are suing New York state over the 2021 death of their son.
The 21-year-old suffered a medical emergency while training at the New York State Academy of Fire Science in Montour Falls. He died 9 days later.
Paperwork filed by the Albany law firm of O’Connell & Aronowitz shows Morse’s parents are suing the state for an unspecified amount of money, saying their son suffered “severe and excruciating conscious pain and suffering” and died because of what happened.
In March of 2021, Morse was doing a mask evolution - training with breathing apparatus on his back and face, going through a box to represent a confined space.
But Morse had problems. A 2021 state investigation revealed 3 recruits heard Morse say he couldn’t breathe. But 2 fire instructors said they only heard Morse say he was stuck. Two other instructors told investigators they didn’t hear a thing.
While that investigation placed no blame on instructors or the state fire academy. Peyton’s parents feel different.
The court papers show the Morses blame the state, its Division of Homeland Security, Office of Fire Prevention and Control, and at least 4 instructors for Peyton’s death.
However, only New York state is listed as a defendant, saying it “negligently and carelessly” failed to provide safe training and failed to assess Morse’s wellbeing.
The lawsuit also says the state failed to have adequate medical personnel and equipment at the training, and that there wasn’t a defibrillator on site.
7 News has reported that Morse had to be taken to the hospital in a state van because there wasn’t an ambulance on the scene.
The state had no comment but has consistently said throughout all the investigations into the fire academy that the safety of recruits is a priority.
See the lawsuit below:
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