Sources: Watertown firefighter didn’t go to hospital by ambulance after medical emergency

Peyton Morse pictured in January 2017
Peyton Morse pictured in January 2017(WWNY)
Updated: Mar. 8, 2021 at 4:45 PM EST
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SAYRE, P.A. (WWNY) - There’s new information about how a Watertown firefighter got to the hospital after experiencing a medical emergency at a state training facility last Wednesday in Montour Falls, and it wasn’t by ambulance.

The firefighter, 21 year old Peyton Morse, remains in critical but stable condition in the intensive care unit at Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pennsylvania.

Morse, also a volunteer with the LaFargeville Fire Department, was doing a drill involving a breathing apparatus when he had trouble, and became unresponsive.

Sources tell 7 News that Morse eventually got medical attention from people at the State Academy of Fire Science, but when 911 was called, it was learned the closest ambulance may have been 20 to 30 minutes away.

The sources say the decision was ultimately made to put Morse in a state-owned van, a non-emergency vehicle, and drive him to Schuyler Hospital, where he was then airlifted to Sayre.

We filed a Freedom of Information request with Schuyler County to get the 911 logs. That was denied Monday.

Under county law, “”records, in whatever form they may be kept, of calls made to a municipality’s E911 system shall not be made available to or obtained by any entity or person, other than that municipality’s public safety agency, another government agency or body, or a private entity or a person providing medical, ambulance or other emergency services, and shall not be utilized for any commercial purpose other than the provision of emergency services.”

Morse was one of 2 Watertown recruits at the training center. We’ve also learned the other firefighter won’t return to the state facility when training resumes Tuesday.

Watertown’s decision doesn’t stand alone.

As we reported over the weekend, other departments are considering not sending recruits back to the state facility - many wanting the state police investigation to be done first.

We also reported Saturday that when training resumes, some state instructors won’t be there either. The state said they have been administratively removed pending the on-going investigation.

That investigation called for by the Watertown fire chief and the New York State Professional Firefighters Association which, last week, called the incident a life-threatening and disturbing series of events.

Sources say while the absence of an ambulance is one concern, it’s one of many that need to be part of the investigation.

Meanwhile the Watertown Firefighters Benevolent Association is starting a collection for Morse.

You can donate by sending a check to:

Watertown Firefighters Benevolent Association / Peyton Morse Fund

Watertown Savings Bank

111 Clinton St

Watertown, NY 13601

Or send money direct to Station 1 at:

Watertown Firefighters Benevolent Association Peyton Morse Fund

224 S Massey St Watertown NY 13601

Please add Peyton Morse to memo line

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