Fatal carbon monoxide leak caused by faulty flue pipe

A carbon monoxide leak that killed a Long Island, N.Y., restaurant manager and sickened more than two dozen other people was caused by a leaky pipe, officials said Sunday.

All of those hospitalized in the Saturday incident were either restaurant workers or emergency responders, said A.J. Carter, a spokesman for the town of Huntington.

Steven Nelson, the manager at the Legal Sea Foods restaurant, was found dead in the basement. Carter said some emergency responders became sickened by carbon monoxide when they entered the room where Nelson was found.

Roger Berkowitz, president and chief executive, said that Nelson, 55, of Copiague, N.Y., had worked for the restaurant for three years and had two sons.


Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas released when something burns. The gas can cause suffocation when breathed by people and animals.

Huntington fire investigators found that the carbon monoxide leak came from a leaky flue pipe for a water heater in the basement of the restaurant, Carter said.

As a result, Carter said, the town issued the restaurant a summons for having “faulty equipment.” There were no issues when the building passed a town inspection last March, Carter said, and another inspection was due next month.

New York state fire code doesn’t require restaurants to have carbon monoxide detectors, and there were no such detectors in the restaurant when the incident happened, Carter said.

SYDNEY, Australia

Authorities cracking down on alcohol-fueled assaults


A single, unprovoked punch to the head from a stranger was enough to kill teenager Thomas Kelly as he walked through Sydney’s most famous nightspot with his girlfriend. Almost two years on, authorities are fighting back.

His death sparked a public outcry against alcohol-fueled violence. That outcry intensified after another 18-year-old died last month from an attack in the same Kings Cross district. More than 90 people have now been killed in Australia since 2000 in one-punch assaults that researchers say are mostly tied to alcohol.

“The viciousness is increasing,” said Gordian Fulde, head of emergency medicine at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital, which treated both teenage victims and a 23-year-old man with severe head injuries after a December beating near Bondi Beach. “All of it because of excess drinking. It’s totally unnecessary.”

Under a crackdown on binge drinking starting Sunday, people are banned from entering many bars and nightclubs in central Sydney after 1:30 a.m., while stores across New South Wales state won’t be allowed to sell takeaway beer, wine and liquor after 10 p.m.

Average alcohol consumption in Australia, where liquor was once an unofficial currency, is 21 percent higher than in the U.S. and more than five times the figure in Singapore, according to the World Health Organization.

“It’s about restricting availability at high-risk times,” said Anthony Shakeshaft, professor at the National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales.

The state government says night-time assaults dropped by more than a third after similar restrictions were introduced in 2008 in the city of Newcastle, a two-hour drive north of Sydney.

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