48° Good Morning
48° Good Morning
Long IslandTowns

Huntington mandates carbon monoxide detectors after Legal Sea Foods restaurant death

The Town of Huntington enacted regulations Tuesday requiring carbon monoxide detectors in places of public assembly with 50 or more people, five months after a manager died in a local restaurant.

The board approved the new measure 5 to 0. In February, a faulty flue pipe in the heating system caused a carbon monoxide buildup in the Legal Sea Foods in Huntington Station, killing the manager and sickening more than two dozen employees and rescue workers.

"We faced a terrible tragedy earlier this year," said town board member Mark Cuthbertson, who co-sponsored the resolution with Town Supervisor Frank Petrone. "This is a way to avoid future tragedies by having business establishments have these detectors so they can know when there is a dangerous or potential fatal situation at hand."

The Feb. 22 death of store manager Steven Nelson triggered a flurry of bills and laws related to carbon monoxide detectors. Other Long Island governments -- including Nassau and Suffolk counties -- have been weighing updates to their laws governing detectors after Nelson succumbed to the poisonous gas.

Town board members said they followed the advice of the public safety community, including firefighters, and are utilizing a National Fire Protection Association standard for the equipment.

Town code had required detectors in residences and places such as hotels and nursing homes. The board set a date of Jan. 1 to allow time for business owners to work with the town's chief fire marshal to comply.

"We're taking a common sense, proactive approach," Petrone said. "What happened earlier this year was devastating, so it was important to update the town code."

The lethal, odorless gas built up in the restaurant's basement at the Walt Whitman Shops mall after the pipe, which is supposed to vent gas from a water heater to the outside, failed, Huntington Town chief fire marshal Terence McNally has said.

Legal Sea Foods officials did not respond to calls and emails Tuesday, but leaders of the restaurant chain had expressed a desire to ensure employee and consumer safety.

Latest Long Island News