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Tuna Factory Death: Employee Cooked in 'Steamer Machine'

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By Daniel Distant , Christian Post Reporter
October 15, 2012|8:40 am

A tuna factory death has investigators stumped after an employee at the seafood plant was found cooked inside an industrial oven at 7 a.m. Thursday. The Santa Fe Springs, Calif. Bumble Bee factory had to suspend operations until Monday of this week.

The tuna factory death resulted in Jose Melena, a 62-year-old employee who worked there for six years, cooked inside a "steamer machine," said KTLA. When he was first discovered in the machine, Bumble Bee factory employees immediately called 911, who responded with emergency personnel. Paramedics declared him dead on the scene, reported KTLA news.

Though an investigation has been launched- standard procedure because of California's OSHA regulations- a spokeswoman said it is still unclear how Melena ended up inside the machine, or if there were any workplace safety violations. Bumble Bee offered their condolences to Melena's family.

"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," Pat Menke, Bumble Bee Foods representative, said in a statement.

Melena's son, Antonio, said that his father was happy to have the job he did.

"He was just grateful he had a job," Antonio explained to CBS2 reporter Andrew Fujii, "that he could pay his bills and provide food for his family."

"It's hard to believe what's going on. And what's happening," a younger sibling said. "It's just been really tough." Melena was from Wilmington, and his family gathered in his front yard to grieve and remember the hardworking man for the way he lived and raised his children.

"He wanted it to be an example for us, to be honest, truthful and hard working," his son said. "And I very much remember everything from my dad."

The seafood canning facility should reopen today, but the investigation into Melena's death is ongoing.

 

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