Faulty pipe led to NY mall carbon monoxide death - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Faulty pipe led to NY mall carbon monoxide death

Posted: Updated:

HUNTINGTON STATION, N.Y. (AP) - A faulty water heater flue pipe caused the carbon monoxide leak that killed a New York restaurant manager and sent more than two dozen people to hospitals, a fire official said Sunday.

Huntington Chief Fire Marshal Terence McNally said the fumes were circulated in the basement by the ventilation systems at the Legal Sea Foods restaurant at the Walt Whitman Shops on Long Island.

Restaurant manager Steven Nelson was found unresponsive in the basement on Saturday night and pronounced dead at a hospital.

Roger Berkowitz, president and CEO of Legal Sea Foods, said Nelson, 55, of Copiague, had worked for the restaurant for three years and had two sons.

"It's a shock, he was a great guy, we consider ourselves a family," Berkowitz said, adding that other employees were "traumatized."

Berkowitz said the carbon monoxide leak was "a wakeup call for commercial businesses" and that monitors should be in all businesses.

Authorities initially went to the restaurant after receiving a call about a woman who had fallen and hit her head in the basement. Rescue workers who arrived at the scene started to feel lightheaded and nauseated and suspected a carbon monoxide leak, officials said.

The restaurant was evacuated and 27 people were treated at hospitals. All of those impacted by the fumes were restaurant employees, police or ambulance workers.

The building was not required to have carbon monoxide detectors, and there were none, McNally said.

Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless and can lead to death by suffocation.

Police said a coroner would officially determine Nelson's cause of death. Autopsy information was not immediately available Sunday.

No problems had been found when the restaurant was inspected last March, and another inspection was scheduled for next month, McNally said.

The Walt Whitman Shops, located about 35 miles east of New York City, has more than 80 stores, including Bloomingdale's, Lord & Taylor, Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue. The restaurant is in a separate structure from the main group of stores, in a block with The Cheesecake Factory and Panera Bread. Both restaurants were evacuated as a precaution, and The Cheesecake Factory was open as usual on Sunday.

Gas lines to Panera Bread and Legal Sea Food had been shut off, McNally said, with Panera likely to get gas back Monday morning. Legal Sea Foods, which was issued a citation for violating town ordinances by having defective equipment, will have to show officials that the water heaters have been repaired before it can re-open, he said.

  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • $3.5 million left after transfer to balance Toledo's budget

    $3.5 million left after transfer to balance Toledo's budget

    Thursday, July 31 2014 11:05 PM EDT2014-08-01 03:05:31 GMT
    $3.5 million; that's how much money the city has left over after a transfer to balance the 2014 budget."This is good news," city finance director, George Sarantou said. Expensess were kept down and we did come out ahead of this. We're taking very seriously our mission and that is to reduce the dependency on the capital improvements budget."In March, city council passed a budget that included the transfer of $14.1 million from the CIP to the general fund to balance the books. But the city only...
    $3.5 million; that's how much money the city has left over after a transfer to balance the 2014 budget."This is good news," city finance director, George Sarantou said. Expensess were kept down and we did come out ahead of this. We're taking very seriously our mission and that is to reduce the dependency on the capital improvements budget."In March, city council passed a budget that included the transfer of $14.1 million from the CIP to the general fund to balance the books. But the city only...
  • Car crashes into Dick's Sporting Goods in Perkins Twp.

    Car crashes into Dick's Sporting Goods in Perkins Twp.

    Two people were hospitalized after a car smashed into a Dick's Sporting Goods store in Perkins Twp.
  • Player ordered to trial for fatal punch of referee

    Player ordered to trial for fatal punch of referee

    Thursday, July 31 2014 10:36 PM EDT2014-08-01 02:36:18 GMT
    A recreational soccer player will stand trial for the one-punch slaying of a referee who was about to penalize and eject him from a game in suburban Detroit.
    A recreational soccer player will stand trial for the one-punch slaying of a referee who was about to penalize and eject him from a game in suburban Detroit.

Area Events Calendar

See It, Shoot It, Send It!