Carbon Monoxide poisoning at a Legal Sea Foods restaurant in Huntington Station, New York left one person dead and 27 more ill on Saturday evening. When Suffolk County police responded to a call, a little after 6 p.m. about an injured woman at the restaurant’s basement, they also found its 55-year old manager lying unconscious.
Identified as Steven Nelson, the manager suffered a cardiac arrest while being moved by ambulance to Huntington Hospital. Many more victims were either taken to one of three area hospitals or treated at the site. The restaurant, located within the Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station, is housed in a detached building that remained open.
Speaking to the media, Julie Robinson-Tingue, spokeswoman for Huntington Hospital, said that Steven Nelson had succumbed to the cardiac arrest he suffered en route. She confirmed the stable condition of at least three persons hospitalized and added that at least six people were released after being treated. There is no word yet on the condition of the woman who was found in the basement, along with Stevenson.
Suffolk County Police Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick said they were originally responding to a distress call about a woman who had collapsed and fallen down a flight of stairs. Upon arriving at the scene, Lt. Fitzpatrick said the police and emergency personnel began feeling dizzy and nauseous. The symptoms were immediately identified as an event of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The colorless, odorless gas is extremely potent and can cause death due to suffocation in cases of over exposure. According to police records, the carbon monoxide poisoning at the New York mall restaurant has left one dead and at least 27 ill. Among those hospitalized were three police officers and four ambulance employees, said Lt. Fitzpatrick.
At the moment, the site has been cordoned off and is being investigated by detectives from the homicide and arson squad.The focus of their investigations will be the heating system at the restaurant, sources confirmed. Preliminary reports indicate that the gas leak was confined to the basement of the restaurant and had not permeated into the place where its customers sat. This is probably why the victims were mostly restaurant employees who must have been closer to the basement. As a precaution two other restaurants in the vicinity, Panera and Cheesecake Factory outlet, were also evacuated by the Suffolk County police.
The restaurant is part of the Legal Sea Foods chain, which has locations in and around the mid-Atlantic and northeastern United States. The chain has responded to the disaster at its Huntington Station location through several posts on Twitter. One tweet said that it was “devastated” by the news of carbon monoxide poisoning and that it was deeply saddened to hear that one of their managers, Steve Nelson had tragically died.
There was no comment from representatives of Walt Whitman Shops, where a severe case of carbon monoxide poisoning has left one person dead and 27 more ill. The mall at Huntington Station in Long Island houses more than 80 stores, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Lord &Taylor.
By Aruna Iyer