| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Feb 23 Homicide and arson detectives
on Sunday were investigating a carbon monoxide leak inside a
restaurant at a shopping mall on New York's Long Island that
left one person dead and 27 other people injured.
The Legal Sea Foods restaurant at the Walt Whitman Mall in
Huntington Station, about 40 miles (64 km) east of New York
City, remained closed on Sunday after the leak detected on
Saturday night forced the evacuation of the establishment and
three nearby eateries.
Suffolk County police responded to the mall around 6 p.m.
after reports that a Legal Sea Foods employee had collapsed and
fallen down a flight of stairs.
As police cleared the restaurant of its customers, officers
found 55-year-old manager, Steven Nelson, unconscious in the
basement. He died of cardiac arrest as he was being transferred
by ambulance to Huntington Hospital, according to hospital
spokeswoman Julie Robinson-Tingue.
Twenty-seven other victims, including four ambulance
personnel and three police officers, were transported to five
area hospitals with non-life threatening symptoms, police said.
Most of the victims were restaurant workers.
Both homicide and arson squads from the Suffolk County
Police Department were investigating the poisonings, with the
restaurant's heating equipment believed to be the source of the
carbon monoxide leak, police said.
A Suffolk County police spokeswoman declined to comment when
asked whether foul play has been ruled out.
The incident appeared to be confined to the basement of the
restaurant, Suffolk County Police Lieutenant Jack Fitzpatrick
said on Saturday.
The restaurant is free standing but adjoins the popular
mall, which remained opened during the incident was expected to
stay open as normal on Sunday.
Two restaurants near Legal Sea Foods, Panera Bread and The
Cheesecake Factory, also were evacuated on Saturday evening, The
Cheesecake Factory had reopened on Sunday but Panera Bread
Legal Sea Foods, which has locations around the northeastern
and mid-Atlantic United States, said in several postings on
Twitter it was "devastated by the news of carbon monoxide
poisoning," and that it was "profoundly saddened to learn of the
tragic death of our General Manager Steve Nelson," adding "Our
thoughts and prayers are with his family."
A restaurant representative who answered the phone at
company headquarters in Boston on Sunday said company officials
were unavailable to comment until Monday.
Carbon monoxide, or CO, is an odorless, colorless gas that
can cause sudden illness or death, according to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention. CO is found in combustion fumes,
such as those produced by car engines, gas ranges or heating
Symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness,
nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion, the CDC said on its
(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; Editing by Barbara Goldberg
and Marguerita Choy)