Long Island EMTs going out for dinner rescue workers, patrons from Applebee's

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Josh Einiger reports from Commack. (WABC)

Two Commack volunteer EMTs are being praised as heroes after they helped avert a potential carbon monoxide tragedy at restaurant on Long Island.

But they say they were just in the right place at the right time.

"We looked at each other found it hard to believe," EMT Justin Gau said.

Gau, 18, and 22-year-old Kyle Page tried to have dinner Tuesday at the Hauppauge Applebee's, but they never even placed their order.

"As we're walking to our seats, the CO detector goes off," Page said.

Their handheld carbon monoxide alarm went crazy, showing readings twice the acceptable limit.

"You could hear it throughout the whole restaurant," Gau said. "So everybody was staring at us."

They still weren't sure, though, if it was a malfunction.

"I made Justin go outside once or twice to reset it to make sure it was functioning before we screwed up everyone's evening," Page said.

It turned out the sensor was fine, and it was the restaurant's hot water heater that went haywire, pumping out huge quantities of the odorless, colorless and deadly gas.

"You just knew we had to get people out, and that was our primary concern," Gau said.

If this sounds familiar, it's because a faulty water heater killed a man at the Huntington Station Legal Seafoods in February.

At Applebee's, Gau and Page walked in just in time to save the day. Theirs was the only CO detector in that restaurant, because even after what happened at Legal Seafoods, Applebee's never installed a detector of its own.

"After they closed up, they shut down the ventilation system and the CO could have been pumping in there all night," Page said. "And whoever opened in the morning could have been a bad turnout."

More than 100 people were evacuated from the restaurant due to the high level of carbon monoxide.
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