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Authorities investigating cause of Las Vegas Boat Harbor fire

Updated June 11, 2024 - 10:44 pm

A couple days after a fire at Lake Mead’s Las Vegas Boat Harbor that damaged many boats, the exact financial loss was still unclear, and authorities said the National Park Service was investigating the cause.

The fire started around 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

By the time the fire was put out, hours later, about 26 boats had at least some damage, according to Candice Hayes, general manager for Boating Lake Mead, which is home to the harbor. About 10 boats were completely destroyed, she said. The boats range from personal watercraft to cabin cruisers to 50-foot houseboats.

An email from Boating Lake Mead said there were two “minor injuries.”

Joshua Barrone, assistant fire chief for Boulder City, said none of the firefighters were injured, but one person was transported to the hospital because of burns.

The exact dollar amount of the property damage is unclear, but he said it would likely be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

When he reached the scene, midway through the fire, “some of the boats were destroyed beyond the point of recognizing what they were,” he said. The National Park Service is investigating, according to Barrone.

“I don’t believe there’s arson,” he said.

He said when Boulder City’s fire engine arrived at the scene at 12:49 a.m. Sunday, a few boats were on fire, and the fire spread because of radiant heat and the proximity of the boats on the docks.

Hayes said the fire started in a houseboat.

On Tuesday afternoon, the harbor appeared to be functioning as normal, with people operating boats near the location of the fire. The area was marked with yellow barriers in the water and fluttering caution tape attached to the columns of the dock. Park rangers were still on site.

Docks I and R were still closed for the investigation, Hayes said. The park service still had not said when customers might be able to access those areas, she said.

A company called TowBoatUS will handle the recovery of boats that have sunk, according to Hayes, and owners of those boats will be responsible for making arrangements.

A man who keeps his boat at the harbor previously told the Las Vegas Review-Journal it would be a major loss for those whose boats were destroyed.

“The biggest deal is that a lot of people lost stuff that they worked for, for many, many years,” Raymond Ward said. “You know what? We put our heart and soul into these things. We’re working on them every day. We’re rubbing them. We baby them. They’re our babies.”

Contact Noble Brigham at nbrigham@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BrighamNoble on X.

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