Hempstead Town officials plan to introduce legislation next month to require carbon monoxide detectors in many businesses and public facilities.
The proposal comes after a leaking flue pipe at a Huntington Station restaurant killed a manager and injured dozens more Saturday night.
The law would require restaurants, bars, nightclubs, bowling alleys, gyms, churches, movie theaters and other public places to install carbon monoxide detectors. Violators could face a fine of as much as $500 and/or imprisonment of up to six months.
"Carbon monoxide is commonly referred to as the silent killer because the gas cannot be seen or smelled," Town Supervisor Kate Murray said at a news conference Tuesday at Runyan's Restaurant in Seaford, saying detectors cost between $20 and $30. "You can't put a price on human life."
The town code amendment would require all new "places of public assembly" to have detectors hard-wired on floors near systems that can produce carbon monoxide, such as furnaces, hot water heaters and stoves, and also one floor above. Existing businesses would be required to have standard detectors that plug into electrical outlets and would likely have 30 to 60 days to come into compliance, officials said.
"Twenty-four years ago when my daughter was born, I installed a carbon monoxide detector at home," said Tony McGinley, owner of Runyan's for more than 33 years, "And the lightbulb went off and I installed it here too . . . It's almost a no-brainer." Runyan's has more than 15 employees.
State law requires carbon monoxide detectors only for residences. The town board is to hold a hearing on the legislation on March 25 at 10:30 a.m.
Nassau Democratic Legis. Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury) plans to introduce a bill requiring the detectors at all county businesses, schools and recreational facilities. But Nassau Republicans said they don't plan on moving on Jacobs' bill because the state has jurisdiction.
On Monday, state Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset) introduced legislation requiring detectors in commercial establishments. Chad Lupinacci (R-Huntington) and Michael Montesano (R-Glen Head) are co-sponsors in the Assembly.
With Robert Brodsky