Carbon Monoxide Leak in Long Island Mall Kills One, Injures Dozens

On February 23, a Long Island mall was the site of a deadly carbon monoxide leak, sending 27 people to the hospital and killing one man. A defective heating system was blamed for the incident, which claimed the life of 55-year-old Steve Nelson, manager of The Legal Sea Food restaurant at the Walt Whitman Mall.

Nelson, who was a father of two, had found a leaking flue pipe near the basement of the popular eatery when he was overcome by the toxic yet odorless gas. His unconscious body was transported to the nearby Huntington Hospital where he died of a heart attack.

Several guests who were overcome with the fumes were treated on the scene, while others – including three paramedics who responded to the leak – were treated in the hospital. The restaurant, which has remained closed since the leak, was issued a summons for unsafe equipment and is not allowed to open its doors until city inspectors verify that the problem has been addressed.

Faulty heating system blamed for the CO leak

Both Suffolk County police and paramedics rushed to the Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station, after hearing reports of a collapsed woman in the basement of Legal Sea Foods. The eatery’s assistant manager, Megan Smith, remains hospitalized with CO poisoning.  Another employee told the NY Daily News, “It was madness…She (Smith) went downstairs to inspect and disappeared. That’s when we knew something was wrong. People kept disappearing down there.”

Spokesman for the Town of Huntington, A.J. Carter, confirmed that the fire marshal had traced the carbon monoxide to a leaky flue within the restaurant’s heating system.  “Stronger safety measures must be put in place, said the CEO of Legal Sea Foods, adding “Steve’s tragic death is a shock to all of us at Legal Sea Foods…He was one of the finest people we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.”

The restaurant didn’t have a carbon monoxide detector, as state code only requires this in establishments where guests sleep. It is unknown at this time if victims will be pursuing compensation by filing a NY carbon monoxide poisoning lawsuit.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

Possible signs of non-lethal CO poisoning include:

  • Recurrent headaches
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Impaired judgment
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Memory problems
  • Loss of consciousness

Those who suffer brain or heart damage or other debilitating harm from CO poisoning, and the families of loved ones who have died, may hold the property owners liable for wrongful death and other injuries.

Pursuing a NY carbon monoxide poisoning lawsuit

At Edelman, Krasin & Jaye our New York personal injury lawyers stand ready to answer your questions during the confusing aftermath of this tragic incident.  We are happy to review your claim at no charge and without any obligation on your part. A personal injury lawsuit can help you recover fair compensation for all medical expenses, lost income and other damages so you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery.

Our legal team has the resources and experience to successfully litigate your case, ensuring justice is served and responsible parties are held accountable for their negligence. For a confidential legal consultation, please call our New York offices at 1-800-469-7429.