Police Officers Seriously Hurt in Accident After Seaside Park Boardwalk Fire

Officials say the officers were working overnight to secure the scene of Thursday's massive fire

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    Three police officers have been seriously hurt after falling off a transport truck leaving the massive boardwalk fire in Seaside Park, N.J.

    The incident happened at O Street and Ocean Avenue in Seaside Park, N.J. around 9:30 a.m. Friday.

    Ocean County Prosecutor's Office says the Seaside Park Police officers were sitting on a bench in the back of a military-type rescue vehicle when the seats gave way.

    "Something malfunctioned with the vehicle and it's my understanding that they were spilled out of the vehicle and onto the roadway," said Seaside Park Police Chief Francis Larkin.

    Officials say the officers were working overnight to secure the site of Thursday's boardwalk blaze. Witness Robert Rochford says he saw the bench lift up and tumble off the side of the truck.

    "EMS was working on anything between three and four officers on the ground," he told NBC10. "Just another slap in the face, but I hope they're going to be OK."

    The officers are identified as 39-year-old Brian Jackawski, a 15-year veteran of the force, 26-year-old Chelsea Richard, a season officer and 19-year-old Daniel Reale, another seasonal officer. Officials say Jackawski fell and hit a metal sign, Richard struck her head on a curb and Reale fell onto the pavement.

    During a press briefing, Governor Chris Christie said two of the officers suffered head injuries.

    Two of the most seriously injured officers were airlifted to Jersey Shore Medical Center and another is being taken to the hospital by ambulance, officials said. Officer Jackawski was treated and released, Officer Reale is in stable condition and Officer Richard is in critical condition.

    More than 400 firefighters and a number of other emergency personnel were called out to fight the four-block long fire that destroyed 50 businesses in both Seaside Park and Seaside Heights, N.J. Both towns were ravaged by Superstorm Sandy.

    Here is a view of the bench that fell off the truck:

    Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.