WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) – A Watertown firefighter is in serious condition in a Pennsylvania hospital after suffering a medical emergency during a training exercise.
In a news release from Chief Matthew Timerman, the firefighter – who was not named by the fire chief – was enrolled in the Recruit Firefighter Training Program at the NYS Fire Academy in Montour Falls, New York.
The firefighter suffered the emergency on Wednesday and was initially rushed to Schuyler Hospital and then airlifted to Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pennsylvania.
He was in serious condition as of early Thursday afternoon.
The incident is under investigation.
“We ask the public to keep our firefighter, his family, and our department in your thoughts and prayers,” Timerman wrote in the statement.
The medical emergency occurred during a “physical skills drill,” according to a press release from the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.
Watertown city manager Ken Mix said the drill involved the use of breathing apparatus.
Mix said the firefighter was one of two Watertown firefighters being trained at Montour Falls.
State police are investigating the incident, but could provide no further details Thursday.
The Watertown trainees were two of 39 firefighters who began training in early February, according to a press release from Governor Cuomo’s office dated February 12.
The press release describes the training as an “11 week rigorous training program” with participation from firefighters from 16 departments.
“During the 11 week program, recruits participate in more than 500 hours of training in both classroom and practical settings.
“Classes focus on areas such as emergency vehicle and pump operations, flammable gas firefighting, basic rescue technician skills and foundational firefighting training and operations.”
“Recruits also participate in daily physical fitness training,” according to the release.