One dead, dozens hospitalized after carbon monoxide leak at New York mall

Posted at 1:45 PM, Feb 23, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-23 12:36:53-05

(CNN) — A restaurant manager died and one of his employees remained hospitalized after inhaling carbon monoxide at a Long Island mall, authorities said Sunday.

Another 26 people were treated and released after the incident, according to hospitals.

Police and emergency crews rushed to the mall in Huntington Station, New York, on Saturday night after reports that a woman had collapsed in the basement of Legal Sea Foods. Once they arrived, they felt dizzy as well and determined that the cause was carbon monoxide poisoning, said police in Suffolk County, New York.

“Police evacuated the restaurant and found the manager, Steven Nelson, 55, of Copiague, unconscious in the basement,” a statement said. “He was transported to Huntington Hospital where he was pronounced dead.”

Colorless, odorless carbon monoxide is produced by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels like oil and natural gas. The investigation is focusing on the restaurant’s heating equipment, authorities said.

The restaurant and surrounding businesses were evacuated as a precaution, but authorities said the carbon monoxide appeared limited to the basement of the restaurant.

Boston-based Legal Sea Foods offered its condolences to Nelson’s relatives.

“We are profoundly saddened to learn of the tragic death of our general manager,” the company tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

CNN’s Chris Kokenes, Susan Candiotti and Lawrence Crook contributed to this report.

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