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Seafood plant worker cooked to death in industrial oven

Approximate location of incident shown in black.

A worker at a Santa Fe Springs seafood plant met a tragic end this week: He was found cooked to death in an industrial oven, according to a report by the Whittier Daily News.

Officials at the Whittier Police Department said in a statement that they received a call about 7 a.m.  Thursday, “regarding an industrial accident” involving a worker at Bumble Bee Seafoods at 13100 Arctic Circle in Santa Fe Springs.

Police and local fire department personnel responded to the business, where they found a 62-year-old male employee dead at the scene, authorities said. They did not describe the nature of the accident and directed media to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, which is investigating the issue.

Officials at the state agency could not be reached by The Times on Saturday for comment. 

Bumble Bee Foods officials could also not be reached, but identified the employee to the Whittier Daily News as Jose Melena, who had worked for the business for six years, the newspaper reported.

Cal-OSHA spokeswoman Erika Monterroza told the paper that an initial investigation indicated that Melena “was fatally injured when he was cooked in an oven” but it was unclear how he ended up inside the oven, resulting in this “horrendous tragedy,” the newspaper said. 

The Associated Press cited a written statement in which Pat Menke, vice president of human resources for Bumble Bee Foods , expressed condolences to Melena’s family. Operations at the plant have been suspended until Monday, the statement said.

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-- Ann M. Simmons

Map: Approximate location of incident shown in black. Credit: Los Angeles Times Mapping L.A.

 
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