FREMONT -- Three Tesla Motors employees were injured when a low-pressure aluminum casting press failed Wednesday afternoon at the company's Fremont factory.

One employee was seriously hurt and two others suffered minor injuries when the machine failed, spilling hot metal on the workers, fire officials and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk said. The three employees were taken to Valley Medical Center in San Jose with second-degree burns.

One was released Wednesday evening but the other two were in the burn ward and expected to remain there overnight, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Musk visited the men shortly after 7 p.m. and said one he identified as "Kevin" will likely make a full recovery but the other had more serious injuries.

"In the case of Jesus, his hands were burned pretty badly so it's not clear what the recovery is going to be," he said. "We want to have that recovery as much as possible and we'll do everything we can on that part."

Musk said he went to the hospital to meet with the employees personally and "make sure they're OK and getting the best possible care."

The incident at the factory on Fremont Boulevard near Interstate 880 was initially reported to be a fire at 11:55 a.m. But a Fremont Fire Department spokesman confirmed that there was no fire or explosion in the plant and that the incident was being considered an industrial accident.

Peter Melton, a spokesman for the state's Division of Occupational Safety and Health, said Wednesday that investigators from the department's Fremont office were on the way to Tesla. Melton said the most seriously injured worker received chest and upper-body burns.

Tesla Motors, which is headquartered in Palo Alto, makes its all-electric Model S sedan at the Fremont factory. Tesla took ownership of the former NUMMI plant in October 2010 and has transformed a portion of the cavernous auto plant into a state-of-the-art facility.

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Within the company, the plant is now called the "Tesla Factory."

Tesla has had a run of bad news recently. Three Model S sedans have caught on fire after serious accidents in Washington State, Mexico, and most recently Tennessee. In each case the driver was not injured, but the news headlines put "Tesla" and "fire" in the spotlight.

The company's once high-flying stock has also tumbled amid concerns about its ability to ramp production fast enough to meet consumer demand.

Staff writer Eric Kurhi contributed to this report. Contact Dana Hull at 408-920-2706. Follow her at Twitter.com/danahull. Contact David DeBolt at ddebolt@bayareanewsgroup.com or follow him at Twitter.com/daviddebolt.


Robots are used extensively on the assembly line at the Tesla auto plant in Fremont, Calif. Tuesday, June 12, 2012.
Robots are used extensively on the assembly line at the Tesla auto plant in Fremont, Calif. Tuesday, June 12, 2012. (Patrick Tehan/Mercury News file photo)