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[UPDATE] New Rochelle Firefighter 'Lived Life to its Fullest'

Firefighter was among five on a boat that crashed in the Long Island Sound near the Stamford Lighthouse.

Update as of 6:15 p.m. on July 23

The New Rochelle Uniformed Fire Fighters Association released the following statement: 

The executive board and members of the New Rochelle Uniformed Fire Fighters Association wish to extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of Fire Fighter Keith Morris and the members of Ladder 12 on their loss. Keith was a dedicated and well respected fire fighter who bravely served the people of New Rochelle for nearly eight years.  Keith will be sorely missed by all of his colleagues.

Update as of 2:45 p.m. on July 23

Robert Benz, a deputy chief with the New Rochelle Fire Department, said the department was in shock when they heard the news about Morris earlier this morning.

Morris was well known throughout the department, according to Benz.

“Keith was an excellent firefighter who lived life to its fullest,” said Benz, who trained Morris as a firefighter. “He’s going to be sorely missed.”

Benz said everyone is still numb after hearing the news that his body had been recovered.

“It’s just a shame,” Benz from Station 1 on Harrison Street. “You read about this all the time and it happens in other places and now something has happened here—It’s a different world all of sudden. It’s a different feeling we’re not used to.”

Update as of 1:30 p.m. on July 23

The search for Keith Morris ended at 12:15 p.m. today when authorities located his body 58 feet below the surface in the Long Island Sound.

Captain Raul Camejo, of the Connecticut DEEP’s division of state environmental conservation police, said Morris' body has been turned over to the state medical examiner, for an autopsy. Morris, 31, was a firefighter in New Rochelle.

According to Camejo, Morris was thrown from a boat at about 10:30 p.m. last night when the vessel struck a break wall in Stamford Harbor. Morris, and four other pasengers who were rescued, had reportedly just left the , a waterfront restaurant and bar.

Two of the passengers were pulled from the water by Darien emergency responders shortly after the call came in, while the other two were trapped inside the boat. Those two passengers were able to breath in an air pocket within the boat, and were saved by divers, Camejo said.

An accident reconstruction is being conducted as part of the investigation. Authorities have not determined whether or not alcohol may have been a factor, Camejo said.

Morris' body was found nearby where the boat struck the wall, through the use of side sonar devices -- about 13 hours later.

UPDATE (12:30 P.M MONDAY) Emergency officials have said that their operation to locate Keith Morris, the man missing following a boat accident in the waters off Stamford early this morning, has turned from a search and rescue to soley a recovery effort.

Authorities are still searching Monday morning for a man identified as a New Rochelle city firefighter lost in the water following a around midnight overnight near the Stamford (CT) Lighthouse. 

Four people were pulled from the water by emergency response crews and divers. Two were pulled from the water by the first-arriving police marine units and two others trapped underneath the boat itself were pulled from the waters by divers from a Stamford fire boat.

A fifth man, New Rochelle firefighter Keith Morris, is still missing. The boat apparently hit the breakwall and then capsized at approximately 11:37 p.m., Stamford authorities said.

Diving crews were launching from a staging area off Harbor Drive during the initial launch during the early hours of the morning.

A Coast Guard helicopter was confirmed on-scene assisting in the search. Darien, Greenwich, Stamford and Noroton, CT, emergency crews all responded last night to assist at the scene. Central, Woodside and Shippan, CT, emergency response crews also had representatives on scene.

matthew July 24, 2012 at 07:22 AM
it seems to me that more people are parishing from water related mishaps, in the New York waters since hte USCG airstation in Brooklyn NY closed, and relocated to Atlantic city NJ, response time is down , aircrat from capecod or Atlantic city would take too much time to be on scene to search, bring back AIrstation Brooklyn, god rest his soul M.H.

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