MONTOUR FALLS, N.Y. (WWNY) - As the north country continues to mourn the loss of Watertown firefighter Peyton Morse, his great-uncle is demanding justice.
Stan Morse drove two days from North Carolina to Montour Falls to protest the New York State Academy of Fire Science, where Peyton suffered a medical emergency during training and later died.
Stan brought signs in protest. He believes the fire academy has a history of safety issues and now he’s looking for answers.
“I’m here today because I am furious, I’m devastated, and I want to be heard,” he said. “I’m kind of the uncle that just doesn’t let things drop.”
So, Stan stood in front of state’s Academy of Fire Science with signs in hand until the sun came up. He was joined by Peyton’s grandfather, Ron.
What happened to firefighter Morse to make him unresponsive while training using a breathing apparatus isn’t known.
“To not rescue him,” Stan sighed. “It’s hard for me to talk about it.”
Both State Police and the state’s Public Employee Safety and Health Bureau are investigating the incident.
If the investigation proves someone was at fault at the state academy, Peyton’s great uncle says the person or persons responsible should face charges.
“Fired, arrested. They should just clean the place out and start over because it’s not just one person. And the people that allow it to happen are just as guilty, and they should feel that,” said Stan.
Peyton’s grandfather, Ron, says the firefighters he has met during the past few days are some of the best people on Earth.
He says Peyton will always be remembered for his selflessness.
Stan says his fight will go beyond Montour Falls. He plans to take his efforts to Albany.
We did reach out to the state office that oversees the academy for comment, but did not hear back.