Fire officials: Faulty pipe cause of deadly carbon monoxide leak at Legal Sea Foods at Walt Whitman Mall in Huntington Station

Legal Seafoods was among the three restaurants evacuated due to a carbon monoxide leak. (2/23/14)

HUNTINGTON STATION - Huntington fire officials are blaming a faulty pipe for the carbon monoxide leak that killed a restaurant manager at Walt Whitman Mall Saturday.

The leak killed Legal Sea Foods manager Steven Nelson, of Copiague and sent two dozen people to the hospital to be treated for exposure. Legal Sea Foods CEO Roger Berkowitz says Nelson had been working in the basement when he was overcome by fumes. Berkowitz says Nelson had gone into the bathroom and the door was locked, making it difficult for people to find him. 

Fire officials say a defective flue pipe leading from a water heater is what caused the deadly fumes to fill the restaurant's basement. The restaurant was inspected last March by the town, according to Fire Marshal Terence McNally, and passed. It was scheduled for another inspection at the end of next month.

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The restaurant also didn't have any carbon monoxide detectors because they're not required under state code. Suffolk County Legislator  John Kennedy (R-Nesconset) says he's putting together a task force of emergency services personnel to determine whether changes have to be made on a state or local level.

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