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Brookhaven has to repeal commercial law on hard-wired detectors

The state rejects Brookhaven’s rule, saying it is too strict. The town imposed the law after a carbon monoxide fatality at a Huntington Station restaurant.

Brookhaven Town Hall, seen in an undated photo.

Brookhaven Town Hall, seen in an undated photo. Photo Credit: Town of Brookhaven

Brookhaven officials said Thursday they must repeal a 2014 law requiring commercial buildings to install hard-wired carbon monoxide detectors because the town law is tougher than state law.

The state Fire Prevention and Building Code Council voted on Dec. 5 to reject Brookhaven’s request for permission to impose the tougher requirements, deputy town attorney Beth Reilly said during a town board work session.

The state action “means our codes are unenforceable,” she said. State officials did not respond to a request for comment.

The town passed its law after an employee died and dozens of people were sickened in February 2014 by carbon monoxide — an odorless and colorless gas — at a Legal Sea Foods restaurant in Huntington Station.

At the time, state law did not require restaurants and other businesses to install carbon monoxide detectors.

In response to the death in Huntington Station, the state required large commercial buildings to have hard-wired carbon monoxide detectors, but smaller businesses may use plug-in detectors.

Brookhaven’s law did not allow the use of plug-in detectors.

Reilly said about 4,000 Brookhaven businesses were required to install the hard-wired detectors, which cost several thousand dollars each. Of those, about 2,000 complied with the town law, she said.

Town Councilwoman Valerie Cartright said she had received “a lot of complaints” about the town law from business owners. “It was going to cost them a lot of money,” she said.

Brookhaven Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said town officials are “looking at a lot of options” for a new carbon monoxide detector law.

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