Modern technology assisted three Somerset County fire departments in battling a stubborn barn fire early Monday in Brothersvalley Township.

When a tanker became mired in a soggy field on its way to pump water from a nearby pond, Somerset County 911 dispatchers relied on aerial photos to send volunteers to a closer water source.

“At 5 a.m. ... it is sure helpful to be able to see what is around you from the air,” dispatcher Joel Landis wrote in an e-mail to Somerset County Emergency Management Director Rick Lohr, a copy of which was obtained by The Tribune-Democrat.

“I think this is some good praise for the 911 equipment this morning, and how it helped fight the fire.”

The old dairy barn along Walker School Road, owned by Rodney and Tracy Schrock, was engulfed in flames when volunteers arrived about 5 a.m., Berlin fire Chief Jerry Parry said.

The barn was destroyed, but firefighters saved a stall barn and milk house.

All the dairy cows in the barn were saved before firefighters arrived, Parry said.

The fire is not considered suspicious, although its origin had not been determined by Monday afternoon.

The Schrocks are insured. A damage estimate was not immediately available.

Volunteers from Garrett and Meyersdale assisted Berlin at the scene. No injuries were reported.

The aerial photographs are part of the county’s Computer Aided Dispatch system, officials said.

“It worked out really well,” Lohr said.

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