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Huntington leaders say local carbon monoxide law covered by state policy

Huntington Town Hall is seen in this undated

Huntington Town Hall is seen in this undated photo. Credit: Carl Corry

Town of Huntington officials have planned a public hearing Tuesday to discuss deleting a 2-year-old provision in town code mandating carbon monoxide detectors in places where large gatherings occur.

A recently enacted state law regulating the devices has made the local law obsolete, town officials said.

In July 2014, town leaders unanimously enacted regulations requiring carbon monoxide detectors in places of public assembly with 50 or more people, five months after a manager died in a local restaurant.

In February that year, a faulty flue pipe in the heating system in the basement caused a carbon monoxide buildup in Legal Sea Foods in Huntington Station, killing the manager, Steven Nelson, 55, of Copiague, and sickening more than two dozen employees and rescue workers. The building had no detectors.

In December 2014, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a law that required restaurants and other commercial buildings to install carbon monoxide detectors. The legislation was prompted, in part, by Nelson’s death.

The bill had been dubbed “Steven Nelson’s Law” to honor the restaurant manager, a father of one who was remembered by a former customer as “genuine, caring.”

The law, which took effect six months after the signing, changed fire-prevention and building codes statewide.

“We passed it [the local law] to fill what we saw as a void after the Legal Sea Foods tragedy,” said town board member Mark Cuthbertson, co-sponsor of the resolution. “We’re now repealing it because it’s no longer necessary because it’s addressed in state regulations, and therefore we shouldn’t have provisions like that on our books.”

The restaurant was shuttered for three weeks after the tragedy and closed permanently at the end of that year when its lease expired.

The hearing is scheduled during the monthly town board meeting Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Town Hall, 100 Main St.

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