1 Dead, 27 Injured by Carbon Monoxide at Walt Whitman Mall Restaurant

Walt Whitman Mall in Huntington. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Walt Whitman Mall in Huntington Station. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A seafood restaurant manager at Walt Whitman Mall died Saturday night from carbon monoxide poisoning that sent 27 others to the hospital and forced the evacuation of surrounding restaurants, Suffolk County police said.

Four ambulance personnel and three police officers were among those injured, police said.

Police and members of the Huntington Manor Fire Department responded to Legal Seafood at the Huntington Station mall around 6 p.m. after they received a report of a woman falling and hitting her head in the basement, police said.

First responders who entered the restaurant quickly realized they were dealing with carbon monoxide after several of them began feeling nauseous and dizzy, police said.

Police evacuated the restaurant and later found 55-year-old Steven Nelson, the restaurant’s manager, unconscious in the basement. The Copiague man was pronounced dead at Huntington Hospital, police said.

The more than two dozen other victims were transported to five area hospitals, but their symptoms were considered non-life threatening, police said. Most of the victims were employees at Legal Seafood, police said.

Detectives are focusing their investigation on the restaurant’s heating equipment, police said.

Nearby restaurants, including Panera Bread and The Cheesecake Factory were also evacuated, but the carbon monoxide appeared to be confined to the basement of Legal Seafood.

Homicide and Arson Squad detectives are continuing the investigation.