Worker Cooked to Death at Tuna Plant in Santa Fe Springs

The man had worked at Bumble Bee Seafoods for six years

A worker was cooked to death this week in an industrial "steamer machine" at a seafood plant in Santa Fe Springs, authorities said.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene after Whittier police received a 911 call at 7 a.m. Thursday.

Jose Melena, 62, had worked for six years at tuna maker Bumble Bee Seafoods, 13100 Arctic Circle (map).

An initial investigation indicated that Melena was fatally injured when he was cooked in an oven, according to Erika Monterroza of California Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

It was unclear how Melena ended up inside the industrial cooker, which was described as a "steamer machine."

The seafood plant had shut down but was expected to resume operations Monday, according to a statement from Bumble Bee Foods.

"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," said Pat Menke, Bumble Bee Foods vice president of human resources, in the statement.

An investigation from Cal-OSHA will be completed within six months. The investigation will include visits to the plant, extensive interviews and a review of company safety documentation, according to state policy.

A finding of violations could result in civil penalties -- and possible criminal charges.

Bumble Bee is the country's largest maker of "shelf-stable" seafood, according to its website.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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