HUNTINGTON STATION, N.Y. (AP) — Officials investigating a carbon monoxide leak at a New York mall are concentrating on the heating system of a restaurant following the death of the eatery’s 55-year-old manager and more than two dozen others being sent to hospitals.
Suffolk County police identified the man who died Saturday as Steven Nelson, a manager at the Legal Sea Foods restaurant at the Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station on Long Island.
Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick said the medical examiner would determine Nelson’s cause of death.
Fitzpatrick said the initial call to police came shortly after 6 p.m. Saturday about a woman who had fallen and hit her head in the basement of the Legal Sea Foods outlet.
When rescue workers arrived at the scene, they started to feel lightheaded and nauseated and suspected a carbon monoxide leak, Fitzpatrick said.
Police evacuated the restaurant and found Nelson, of Copiague, unconscious in the basement.
The woman who fell was taken to Huntington Hospital, as was Nelson, who was pronounced dead there. There was no immediate word on the woman’s condition.
Authorities said 27 people were taken to five area hospitals. Fitzpatrick said none appeared to have life-threatening injuries. WABC-TV reported that all but a handful of patients had been treated and released.
All of those affected by the fumes were restaurant employees, police or ambulance workers, Fitzpatrick said.
Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless and can lead to death by suffocation.