Man Burnt Alive in Industrial Oven Filled With Thousands of Pounds of Tuna

Eating healthy isn’t so hard. Having two spoonfuls of hummus a day will help fulfill the recommended weekly amount of beans you’re supposed to get. Having just one lemon will provide you with more than 100% of your daily intake of vitamin C. And having tuna will help you get more protein, Omega-3, and B vitamins into your diet.

Just be sure to be careful about which brand of tuna you buy, though.

On April 27, prosecutors in Los Angeles charged Bumble Bee Foods and two of its employees with felony safety violations after a worker burned alive in an industrial oven filled with 12,000 pounds of tuna.

In October of 2012, 62-year-old Jose Melena was doing maintenance work in a 35-foot-long industrial oven at the Bumble Bee plant in Santa Fe Springs when a co-worker, who thought Melena was in the bathroom, filled the pressure cooker with thousands upon thousands of pounds of canned tuna, and turned it on.

According to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA)’s report, a search was conducted after Melena’s supervisor noticed he was missing. Two hours later — after the oven had reached 270 degrees Fahrenheit — his charred body was found by another plant worker.

Now, the company and its two managers are charged with three counts of violating OSHA rules. The two managers could potentially face up to three years in prison, and fines of as much as $250,000 if convicted of all charges. The company faces a maximum fine of $1.5 million, and has already appealed, arguing that it improved its safety program following Melena’s death.

“We remain devastated by the loss of our colleague Jose Melena in the tragic accident,” said the company in a statement. “We disagree with and are disappointed by the charges filed by the Los Angeles district attorney’s office.”


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