FRANKLIN CO., Va. -

As we get ready for another round of cold weather, firefighters are making sure the freezing temperatures don't keep them from doing their job.

A massive fire at Smith Mountain Lake last Friday is evidence; this winter hasn't been kind to firefighters.   

It took fire crews from seven companies to put out the fire on Carrs Point Lane.  Normally, the fire boats would be able to take care of a fire like this.

But last Friday, the cold rendered them ineffective.

"It was brutal. It was very brutal," Assistant Chief Skip Decker says.

"This was one of the most frustrating times," Chief George Tawes added.

Every time a fire truck or a fire boat comes back from a call, it has to drain all the water in the pumping system.

It's one of the many key ways to winterize the rigs; and fire chiefs say they did everything they were supposed to do.

"They're all winterized, the pumps were winterized, the fire pumps were winterized but we still had some challenges," Assistant Chief Decker said.

Last Friday night, it was just that cold and windy.

They're still not 100 percent sure, Decker and Tawes think a little bit of water left in their pumps froze in the ten minute ride to this fire.

"That little bit that was left in there was our problem the other night," Tawes said.

Decker and Tawes' ten man crew was unable to pump the water it needed to help get the fire under control.

Today, crews were thoroughly inspecting all the boats.

"Given the cold snap that's coming, we want to see what we can do to prepare," said Decker.

The plan is to add additional heaters inside the part of the boat where the pumps are and to fire the pumps up on the way to the calls they're responding to.

The combination of this fire with that cold may have caught these volunteers off guard; but they say it'll be the last time.

"Tonight, this afternoon, tomorrow, the next day, we're going to be prepared to do what we need to do," Tawes said.

Keeping the fire boats winterized is especially a challenge compared to trucks because they don't have a warm garage to store them in.

That means the water that could be left in the system after they drain it could be more prone to freezing like it was last Friday.