LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Almost three weeks after a raging fire at Lake Mead, most of the 37 burnt boats have come back to the surface while their owners are still clueless about what ignited it in the first place.

Torn and battered, they sit on the decline to the Las Vegas Boat Harbor Marina that first sank in the early morning of June 9. The marina said 11 vessels were destroyed and another 26 were damaged.

Initial reports the 15 boats were damaged grew to 36 as investigators work at Las Vegas Boat Harbor. (Boating Lake Mead)

Judy Roman and her partner own three of them: two small boats and one 56-foot-long houseboat she described as her “home base” that housed a security camera capturing the moments flames reached it. The two small vessels, now seared and discolored, were retrieved.

“My nieces would come down. We’d play with it. My daughters, and— it’s all gone now,” Roman said Friday morning, looking over her wrecked two-seater boat sitting on dirt. “For me, it’s painstaking.”

Remnants of the June 9 fire at the Lake Las Vegas Boat Harbor Marina that have been retrieved after sinking.” (KLAS)

TowBoat US Lake Mead is the retriever. Its owner, Bryan Sloan, tells 8 News Now they’ve so far pulled up 12 vessels, along with a washer and dryer, a couple of small stoves, and other metal debris.

As boats continue to be pulled, divers are unable to reach the potential environmental hazard underneath them. A “small” debris field, which requires specialized removal, is expected to be cleaned up after all boats resurface.

“Most of the contents (of sunken boats) burned to ash as well,” Sloan said in a text. “We also have a 1,500 ft containment boom on the surface extending out and surrounding the entire casualty zone to contain any potential hydrocarbon releases.”

In the meantime, the strategic “Jenga” operation to remove the vessels on top of each other down below could take days longer. A representative of the Lake Mead Recreation Area told 8 News Now Friday that “most” of the sunken vessels have been removed or moved.

Bruce Nelson, vice president of operations for the marina, told 8 News Now previously that he suspects no foul play in the fire’s origin. The foul damage to the “I” and “R” docks may take months to repair.

“The crane barge that is removing sunken boats at the Lake Las Vegas Boat Harbor Marina.” (Judy Roman)

“It was an accident, you know? Most likely an electrical fire,” Nelson said on June 13. “We have seen a lot of different things over those years. This is the worst.”

Those with vessels still submerged, like Roman’s houseboat, are awaiting to see the true damage. Roman says she can replace the passports, titles, and other documents she stored on it, but that the sentimental items that likely perished cannot.

“My mother had dishes she gifted me that were special. You know? Stupid stuff like that,” Roman said. “It’s like going on vacation and realizing, you know, you can’t go back to your house and everything’s gone.”

She says her insurance will only cover half of the total damage amount, provoking her daughter to create a GoFundMe account for the remaining costs. Roman said she is also awaiting the cost of removal and disposal. In the meantime, she says her partner and she are living in their RV they usually would spend only half the year in.

8 News Now Reporter Ryan Matthey (left) speaking with boat owner Judy Roman (right) about her two small and charred boats resurfacing while her houseboat remains submerged.” (KLAS)

“One of my neighbor’s boats, to recover, costs $43,000, just for the recovery and not for the disposal,” Roman said. “We miss home. We just want to go home.”

The National Park Service, spearheading the investigation, has yet to release its findings of how the fire began. The recreation area representative expects the announcement “sooner rather than later.”

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