Peyton Morse's father, Watertown fire chief to testify before grand jury

Aug. 17—WATERTOWN — The father of Peyton L.S. Morse has been subpoenaed to testify next week in front of a grand jury that's investigating his son's death.

David M. Morse was notified that he will appear before the grand jury on Tuesday. Watertown Fire Chief Matthew R. Timerman confirmed that he also was subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury on that day.

"That's all I can say officially," Chief Timerman said.

The 21-year-old firefighter had a medical emergency on March 3, 2021, at the New York State Academy of Fire Science in Montour Falls, near Watkins Glen. He died nine days later in a Pennsylvania hospital.

State police investigated his death and handed over its results to Schuyler County District Attorney Joseph G. Fazzary.

In July, Mr. Fazzary said he planned to present the case to a grand jury, saying then that he hoped to move the case in the next couple of months.

Peyton's mother, Stacy L. Morse, said Wednesday that she was not called to testify, since her husband was doing so.

"They said they only needed one of us," she said.

Peyton's parents have been waiting for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH, to complete its investigation that will determine how to prevent similar incidents.

They have been critical that the state's Public Employee Safety and Health Bureau, or PESH, determined the fire academy did nothing wrong when Peyton had the medical emergency.

They believe that instructors were negligent and could have prevented their son's death. Other trainees have said that instructors failed to do anything until it was too late after the firefighter yelled out that he couldn't breath during a training exercise on March 3, 2021.