Los Angeles (CNN) — California authorities are investigating the death of a worker in an oven at a Los Angeles-area tuna processing plant. The victim, Jose Melena, was cooked to death in a steam oven at the Bumble Bee Foods plant in Santa Fe Springs on Thursday, said Erika Monterroza, a spokeswoman for the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health. Melena was a six-year veteran of the plant, which was shut down until Monday, the company said.
“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. Monterroza said she could not disclose further details. Worker fatality investigations typically take three to four months to complete. The plant is about 18 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. It processes and cans tuna loin.
Melena’s job involved pushing baskets of sealed cans into a pressure cooker, and he was considered a skilled and knowledgeable employee, Pat Menke, the company’s vice president for human resources, told CNN. The process sterilizes the canned tuna, which is then cooled, dried, labeled and inspected before being shipped to stores, Menke said.
Boston, MA – Talk about a rough day for the person who has the easiest job on the planet, “Spokeperson for Bumble Bee Foods.” 364 days a year you’re just like “Yep, still processing thousands of Tuna’s who have been needlessly slaughtered so poor people can afford lunch by adding mayo to it”, but then comes day 365 when Jose Melena falls (gets pushed?) into the god damn oven and you gotta get to work. You would imagine there’s a pretty quick meeting with the Board of Directors and legal team. After all the chatter dies down and people stop making jokes about how you should roll out a new product called “Mexican of the Sea”, and hearing things like “whatever you do don’t refer to him as our eSTEAMed colleague”, everyone agrees you should say something about “thoughts and prayers are with the family” because a jury will eventually review the companies behavior in a lawsuit.
Bumble Bee did mention they are currently searching for another skilled employee to push a basket of sealed cans into a pressure cooker. People who have carelessly encased themselves in 7,000 gallon steam kettles and lived to tell about it need not apply.