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Worker tragically cooked to death in oven of tuna-processing plant

Friday, October 19, 2012 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: tuna, food factory, death

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(NaturalNews) An accident like this brings the word "tragedy" to a whole new level.

Authorities in California are looking into the death of a worker in - of all places - an oven at a tuna processing plant in the Los Angeles area.

CNN reported that the victim, Jose Melena, 62, "was cooked to death in a steam oven at the Bumble Bee Foods plant in Santa Fe Springs" earlier this month, according to a spokeswoman for the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, Erika Monterroza.

It was unclear exactly what happened and why, but what is known is that Melena had worked at the processing facility for at least six years, according to the report. Apparently the plant was shuttered for a few days following the accident, according to company officials.

"The entire Bumble Bee Foods family is saddened by the tragic loss of our colleague, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Melena family," the company said in a statement.

Mysterious circumstances

The spokeswoman, Monterroza, would not give out any further details. The report said that accidents involving fatalities generally take somewhere between three and four months to finish.

The plant, which is located about 18 miles southeast of downtown L.A., processes and cans tuna loin, CNN said.

Making the accident even more mysterious, Pat Menke, the company vice president for human resources, told the news service that Melena was considered a skilled and knowledgeable employee. His "job involved pushing baskets of sealed cans into a pressure cooker," said the report.

The process sterilizes the canned tuna, which then cools, dries and is labeled prior to inspection and shipment to stores, said Menke.

In an interview with a local CBS affiliate Melena's son, Antonio Melena, said he hoped his father would be remembered more for the way he lived, not how he died.

"He was just grateful he had a job, that he could pay his bills and provide food for his family" said Antonio.

He added: "It's hard to believe what's going on. And what's happening. It's just been really tough."

Later, gathered in the elder Melena's front yard, where he kept a meticulous garden, Antonio said, "He wanted it to be an example for us; to be honest, truthful and hard working. And I very much remember everything from my dad."





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