In a very positive step, the Line of Duty death investigation of Watertown Firefighter Peyton Morse is now in the hands of the state’s Violent Crimes Unit. The unit, formerly known as the Major Crimes Unit, recently took over this case. This is the first real movement in the case since Firefighter Morse died after a March 3rd training incident at the State Fire Academy in Montour Falls.
After an autopsy report, a coroner said Morse’s cause of death was an anoxic brain injury, cardiac arrest, and the consequence of physical exertion from the use of a breathing apparatus during the training exercise.
But that leaves numerous questions including NY State Fire Academy policies, instructor(s) qualification/training, incident supervision, backup/emergency plans and standards, overall supervision/leadership, emergency preparedness, equipment condition/findings, operational environment & related actions, standard adherence, warning signs/action and accountability.
The NY State Fire Academy has been questioned for pushing firefighters too hard in the past, and even had a formal letter of concern submitted against them in March 2020 by a Rochester area fire department.
In past interviews with Morse’s parents, David and Stacy Morse have pressed for a fair and thorough investigation into the death of their son. They are critical that they’ve heard nothing from the fire academy since the incident happened. The investigation has already been (and still is) in the hands of a private investigator, State Police, and NIOSH.