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Family of Bumble Bee worker baked in oven demands answers

October 16, 2012 |  4:24 pm

The family of a Bumble Bee seafood worker cooked to death in an industrial oven last week wants answer as to how the accident occurred.

Bumble Bee Foods executives have identified the worker as Jose Melena, 62. He'd worked there for six  years. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health is investigating the death.

Family members said Melena worked the late shift, placing tuna in large steamers. They said they were shocked by his death but said they believe it was part of God's plan.

"He was a hard worker," his daughter Sara Melena told the Whittier Daily News. "A very hard worker."

His son, Antonio Melena, told KCBS-TV (Channel 2) that the family is still trying to come to terms with what happened.

“It’s hard to believe what’s going on. And what’s happening. It’s just been really tough," the son said. “He was just grateful he had a job, that he could pay his bills and provide food for his family.”

Authorities initially reported that there was some sort of “industrial accident” at the plant in the 13100 block of Arctic Circle about 7 a.m. Thursday, according to Santa Fe Springs Fire Department Division Chief Michael Crook.

Crook said paramedics rushed to the plant and pronounced Melena dead as soon as they arrived. No one else was injured.

“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, the company’s vice president of human resources, said in a statement.  

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