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Carbon monoxide blamed for restaurant deaths; local restaurants double-check safety

Updated: Monday, February 24 2014, 09:47 PM CST
Reported by: Kyle Rogers

HARRISBURG -- While patrons enjoyed the pasta during Monday’s lunch hour, Pastorante owner Sri Kumarasingan was testing his carbon monoxide detector in the basement. 

“We look at houses and homes, not so much restaurants,” said Kumarasingan at his North Third Street restaurant in Harrisburg. 

Over the weekend, a restaurant manager at Legal Sea Foods in Huntington Station, New York died after being exposed to carbon monoxide. More than 27 others, including a handful of first responders, were rushed to the hospital with poisoning symptoms. Officials said the restaurant did not have any carbon monoxide detectors which were not required by law. 

In Pennsylvania, carbon monoxide detectors are not required to be inside restaurants, according to a spokesperson with the state’s Department of Labor and Industry. 

However, the weekend’s incident in New York should be a wake-up call to all business owners, Kumarasingan said. 

“It’s the safety of the guests and the safety of your staff that’s most important,” he said. 

The odorless, colorless and tasteless gas is hard to notice without a working detector. At Pastorante, Kumarasingan noticed one detector in the basement of his established. He plans to add two more to the dining area. 

“Now that we’re aware of what happened in New York, you can’t ignore it,” the owner said. 

CBS 21 News reached out to both the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association and as the state’s Fire Commissioner – spokespersons encourage restaurant owners to install carbon monoxide detectors in their businesses.Carbon monoxide blamed for restaurant deaths; local restaurants double-check safety

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