Pioneer fire witness calls Taylor a 'hero' - Tucson News Now

Pioneer fire witness calls Taylor a 'hero'

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Grace Rodriguez still has a lot of emotions from the Pioneer fire, and she says this plea deal has been tough on her.

Rodriguez was an elevator operator at the Pioneer Hotel in 1970. She was 16 years old at the time, the same age as Louis Taylor.

She says she remembers that night vividly; she remembers seeing Taylor helping people get out of the burning building.

She called it a time of her life she will never forget.

Because of her memory, she was a prosecution witness, but says she thinks he didn't like hearing that Taylor helped people, so she became a witness for the defense team.

Rodriguez says now that Taylor is free, she can move on, but the whole ordeal is still a big part of her life.

"He could have easily walked out of the there but instead he stayed to help," Rodriguez said. "So these are things that I didn't hear or imagine, these are things that I saw, I witnessed, and all these years I've carried all these things that I saw that night in my heart, in my soul and in my mind."

She also wanted Taylor to know that he's a hero in her eyes, and she hopes that he can someday put it behind him.

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