Legal Sea Foods Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in New York

Carl Saiontz

By Carl Saiontz
Posted February 23, 2014


Over the weekend, dozens were injured and at least one man was killed from a carbon monoxide leak at a New York restaurant, which likely could have been prevented with the use of simple carbon monoxide detectors.

This tragedy comes on the heels over another carbon monoxide leak at the Westin Hotel near BWI Airport here in Maryland last weekend, which may have exposed several hundred people to the effects of this toxic gas.

Similar stories seem to pop up on a daily basis nationwide, whether it be limited exposures to carbon monoxide in homes or apartment buildings, or mass exposures at hotels, restaurants or even schools. Unfortunately, this is not a new problem, but rather a new trend for news media to cover these tragic events.

Hopefully the increased awareness of these incidents will lead to wider use of carbon monoxide detectors, and more laws and regulations that require businesses to install these cheap alarm systems.

Carbon Monoxide is Referred to as the “Silent Killer”

Carbon monoxide gas is an odorless, colorless gas that lacks any irritating factors to allow individuals to detect it on their own. As a result, it is the leading cause of fatal poisonings in the United States, injuring about 40,000 people each year.

The carbon monoxide lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. investigate potential claims for injuries caused by exposure to this deadly gas. In speaking with many individuals left with permanent injury after being exposed to a carbon monoxide gas leak, the common trend is a lack of carbon monoxide detectors that could have alerted people to the problem earlier.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning often include headaches, nausea, light headedness and other flu-like symptoms. Especially for individuals exposed in a home, apartment or hotel, this may lead them to lay down or rest, rather than evacuating, which further increases the risk of permanent injury or death.

While many states, including New York, have begun to pass laws requiring the use of carbon monoxide detectors in homes and multi-family dwellings, businesses have opposed any requirement that they be installed in other locations, such as hotels, restaurants and businesses.

Carbon Monoxide Leak at New York Restaurant

The Legal Sea Foods carbon monoxide exposure occurred at a Long Island restaurant in the Walt Whitman Shops of Huntington Station, which has a number of different restaurants and stores.

As a result of the leak, evacuations were also ordered for the Cheesecake Factory and Panera Bread restaurants, which were next to Legal Sea Foods. However, it is possible that if the leak had gone undetected longer it could have had even more widespread consequences throughout the mall.

According to media reports, the carbon monoxide gas appears to have been coming from a heating system in the basement, which may have ultimately traveled throughout the restaurant and the entire area. There do not appear to have been any carbon monoxide detectors present, as the first sign of problems came when police and paramedics were called to the scene because an unidentified woman had fallen in the basement.

Multiple police and ambulance personelle began to quickly experience lightheadedness and nausea while investigating the call, which was the first “detection” that the cause may be a carbon monoxide leak. This highlights the devastatingly quick effects carbon monoxide can have on individuals, and further emphasizes the importance for detectors or alarms even in businesses or other locations where people spend time.

Unfortunately, the effects of carbon monoxide are not limited to those who suffer catastrophic injuries at the scene. Often individuals exposed at various levels can suffer permanent brain damage from carbon monoxide that can result in long-term issues with memory loss, anxiety, depression, reduced cognitive function and other issues. These problems are nearly impossible to treat, and the best way to avoid such injuries is to prevent exposure in the first place by detecting leaks as soon as possible, where ever they may occur.

Carbon monoxide detectors are no more complicated than smoke detectors, which are widely required throughout the United States. These $15 to $30 devices can detect the presence of carbon monoxide gas before it rises to levels that may cause permanent injury, allowing people to be aware of the leak and quickly evacuate the area.

While smoke detectors and fire alarms are widely required, regulations regarding the use of carbon monoxide detectors is far behind and needs to catch up quickly.

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