Tuna worker cooked to death on the job identified

10:19 AM, Oct 15, 2012   |    comments
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SANTA FE SPRINGS, CA (CBSLA.com) - Friends and family gathered Sunday evening to mourn the loss of a tuna factory worker killed in an accident at a processing plant last week.

The worker, now identified as 62-year-old Jose Melena, was cooked to death inside a steam oven last Thursday.

It is still unclear how the accident happened at the Bumble Bee plant in Santa Fe Springs.

CBS2 and KCAL9 reporter Andrea Fujii spoke to Antonio Melena, the man's grieving son, at his father's Wilmington home.

Melena told Fujii he wanted his father to be remembered more for the way he lived - rather than the tragic way he died.

"He was just grateful he had a job," said Antonio, "that he could pay his bills and provide food for his family."

The younger Melena added, "It's hard to believe what's going on. And what's happening. It's just been really tough."

Bumble Bee, meanwhile, released this statement: "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."

His family gathered in Melena's front yard - there he kept complete pride in his garden and was meticulous in its upkeep. Said his son, "He wanted it to be an example for us, to be honest, truthful and hard working. And I very much remember everything from my dad."

Operations will resume again Monday at the Bumble Bee plant as the investigation into Melena's death continues.

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