Pima County Public Library Fires

A fire occurred at the Carnegie library at 200 South Sixth Avenue on February 2, 1941. Faulty wiring cause the fire that totally destroyed the rotunda area, ruined the reference area, but did not hurt the circulating book collection. The building was restored and continued to function as the Main Library for many years until the opening of the new library building at 101 North Stone Avenue in May 1990. Today the former library building houses the Children's Museum Tucson.

On July 30, 1994 an arson fire caused an estimated $50,000 damage to the Sam Lena-South Tucson Library at 1607 South Sixth Avenue. Computers and books were damaged by smoke and water. One of the two suspected arsonists was arrested at the scene.

February 13, 2013. Motorists passing by the Flowing Wells Branch of the Pima County Public Library, located at 1730 W. Wetmore Road, saw smoke and called 911. When the Northwest Fire District arrived and entered the building, fire was discovered in storage areas and a bathroom. 30 firefighters subdued the fire in about half an hour. According to an article from the Arizona Daily Star, Northwest Fire District Capt. Adam Goldberg estimated the cost of fire-related damages as being between $4,000 and $6,000. The library was closed for six days in order to repair those damages, and reopened on February 19, 2013.

The Joel D. Valdez Main Library at 101 North Stone Avenue was closed for several days after a vehicle fire in the parking garage on January 17, 2014 caused extensive smoke and poor air quality throughout the building. Tucson Fire Department responded, and the fire was under control by 9:05 AM. Library staff was evacuated and there were no injuries. The library reopened on Tuesday, January 21.


"Fire Sweeps Carnegie Library." Arizona Daily Star. Feb. 3, 1941. Page 1.

"Man held in library arson fire; computers, books damaged, opens a new window." Arizona Daily Star. July 31, 1994. Page 6B. 

"Firefighters control fire at Flowing Wells library, opens a new window." Arizona Daily Star. February 13, 2013.

"Burning truck in garage shuts downtown library, opens a new window." Arizona Daily Star. January 18, 2014. Page A07.

Find the information you need by calling the library's Infoline at 520-791-4010 or by sending your question to Ask a Librarian.