Mayor Romero, Visit Tucson, Holualoa Companies, the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation, the American Institute of Architects Southern Arizona, and community partners will pay tribute to the 29 lives lost in the Pioneer fire 50 years ago by displaying a wreath in the hotel’s lobby.
On December 20, 1970, a disastrous fire severely damaged the building and 29 lives were lost. A number of those lost in the fire were from Hermosillo, Sonora and were as young as eight years old. Margaret and Harold Steinfeld, owners of a large department store downtown at the time who lived in the penthouse, also died in the fire.
Mayor Romero recently sent a letter to the Mayor of Hermosillo seeking assistance retrieving the original firetruck that was used in the fire that was discovered in a local junkyard by former firefighters and the son of one of the victims.
“December 20th marks exactly 50 years since the Pioneer Hotel fire, and we remember and pay tribute to the 29 lives that were tragically lost,” said Mayor Regina Romero. “I look forward to working with the City of Hermosillo, the Tucson Fire Fighters Association, and the families of the victims to bring back this firetruck to Tucson in order to honor the lives that were lost 50 years ago.”
“We remember all those families in Arizona and Mexico who lost loved ones during this tragic event. There are no words or actions that can alleviate the pain and suffering from all those families, and their loss impacted everyone around the world,” said Felipe Garcia, Visit Tucson’s Executive Vice President. “The 29 lives lost are one of the reasons why we now see evacuation maps and sprinklers in hotel rooms; those lost lives have saved many.”
"The Pioneer Hotel fire has intimately defined the lives of 29 families in the United States and Mexico, and indirectly the lives of dozens of firefighters, police officers and others,” said Paul d'Hedouville II, son of attorney lost in the fire. “As a child in Washington, D.C., I grew up learning about my dad's death through news stories and accompanying my mom at trials. Fifty years later, it's important for all of us to look at lessons-learned and sacrifices made. All of us welcome the City's initiative to pause and remember."
The Pioneer Hotel, designed by Tucson architect Roy Place, was one of Tucson's first high-rise buildings. Opened in 1929, the Spanish Revival hotel became the social center of the downtown business district. The extensive fire damage to the building resulted in the conversion of the hotel into an office building. After the fire, significant changes were made to Tucson codes regarding fire suppression, exit hardware, non-flammable materials, exit plans, signage, and lighting.
What: Mayor Romero, Visit Tucson, Tucson Fire Fighters Association Local 479, and son of attorney Paul d'Hedouville to place wreath in remembrance of the 29 souls lost in the Pioneer fire 50 years ago. The donated wreath from community partners will be displayed in the hotel lobby through early January 2021.
When: Sunday, December 20, 2020
Where: Pioneer Hotel, 100 N. Stone Avenue, Tucson, AZ
To learn more request an interview with Mayor Regina Romero, please contact Communications Director Myriam Cruz at email@example.com or 602-748-9838.