SOUTH BERWICK – The South Berwick Police Department is investigating a Sunday afternoon crash that destroyed a town fire truck.

The driver, Adam Leach of South Berwick, was turning the tanker  around when he lost control of it on Fifes Lane. It went off the road and hit a large pine tree.

Leach, a 31-year-old volunteer firefighter, was not seriously injured but was placed on unpaid sick leave following the accident with a torn finger tendon and a few bumps and bruises.

“We think (the crash) might have been caused by a medical problem,” said South Berwick Fire Chief George Gorman, who did not elaborate.

Gorman said Leach had responded to a call from Eliot around 2:15 p.m. for assistance in fighting a house fire. South Berwick sent a fire truck and the tanker.

When Eliot rescinded its request for aid, Leach was notified to return to South Berwick.

The tanker, which was carrying 3,000 gallons of water, did not rupture in the crash, but “the truck has been destroyed,” Gorman said.

Leach, who drives an oil truck in the private sector, has been with the department about 15 years.

It cost the town about $113,000 to purchase the tanker 13 years ago. A new tanker would likely cost more than $200,000, Gorman said. The damaged tanker was fully insured.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

dhoey@pressherald.com