Red Flags at New York Academy Where Firefighter was Stricken

Watertown firefighter Peyton Morse suffered a medical emergency and later died.
(New York State Fire Academy photo, Facebook)

Safety concerns last year where Watertown firefighter
was training

FirefighterNation Staff

WATERTOWN, New York – WWNY reports that safety concerns were raised last year about the state training academy where Watertown firefighter Peyton Morse suffered a medical emergency and later died.

The Ridge Road Fire District expressed concerns about the same type of training Firefighter Morse was doing.

Fire Chief (retired) Steven Mills, wrote a letter to the state fire administrator, Francis Nerney, Jr.

Chief Mills said, “Since 2019, we have encountered a series of events and injuries that cause considerable concern regarding the training being delivered particular to the ‘mask confidence’ and ‘survival week.’”

WWNY reports that this is the same training Morse was doing when he had a medical emergency.

What went wrong hasn’t been provided, only that he became unresponsive.

Mills said in 2019 and 2020 his recruits suffered injuries, ranging from from skin tears and staph infections to dislocated shoulders, that required hospitalization.

Mills’ letter to Nerney, Jr. went on, “Their reports indicate questionable conduct by instructors shown toward the recruits who are relying on these seasoned veterans to instruct, not to seemingly intimidate and deviate from standards to determine one’s point of breaking.”

A spokesperson with the Office of the State Fire Administrator issued the following statement:

“The New York State Academy of Fire Science puts the safety and security of its recruits above all else. Upon receipt of Chief Mills’ letter, Officials reached out to him directly to discuss his concerns. This communication was professional and well received. The Office discussed the job performance requirements contained in State and National Standards and an ongoing revision to the physical fitness training program. Chief Mills indicated his satisfaction with the information provided in response to his concerns and indicated a written follow up would not be necessary.”

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