William Rodríguez is a former janitor at the North Tower of the World Trade Center during the September 11, 2001, attacks and was in the basement of the North Tower when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the building. After the attacks he received several awards for heroism for helping in the evacuation of many survivors. The Birmingham Mail said about Rodriguez: "He bravely led firefighters up the stairs, unlocking doors as they climbed and helping hundreds of survivors" and The Lancashire Telegraph added: "He then went back into the building in a bid to rescue his friends at the top of the tower, on the 106th floor. But he kept finding others who needed his help as well."
Rodriguez became prominent in the Latino community for helping to institute an economic amnesty program for victims of 9/11 who were undocumented workers.
Subsequently, Rodriguez traveled around talking about a theory and his experiences on 9/11, giving motivational lectures and discussing disaster management. The Herald newspaper of Glasgow characterized him as "the poster boy for a movement currently sweeping the globe… the 9/11 Truth Campaign." He titled his website "911keymaster", appearing on TV and having himself photographed frequently with a 'master key' to the World Trade Center, which, he has alleged on BBC and Dutch TV and C-SPAN, saved hundreds of lives. He also used the title "Last Man Out", touring in the UK and the US with that phrase. Rodriguez has also employed the "Last Survivor of the World Trade Center" slogan.
His website william911.com states that he "helped fifteen (15) persons from the WTC to safety." Newspapers articles state that he raised 122 million dollars for the victims of 9/11.
September 11 attacks
Rodriguez said he usually clocked in at 8:00 a.m. and rode an elevator to the 106th floor, where Hispanic employees of the Windows on the World restaurant fed him a free breakfast. However, on the morning of September 11, 2001, Rodriguez was half an hour late and so reported directly to a basement office of his employer, American Building Maintenance. On September 11, Rodriguez told CNN that shortly before the plane hit the tower he was in the basement when:
...we hear like a big rumble. Not like an impact, like a rumble, like moving furniture in a massive way. And all of sudden we hear another rumble, and a guy comes running, running into our office, and all of skin was off his body. All of the skin. We went crazy, we started screaming, we told him to get out. We took everybody out of the office outside to the loading dock area.
Rodriguez's early accounts repeatedly mentioned a large fireball that shot down the elevator shafts and exploded through the doors, causing serious burn injuries to a man who happened to be standing in front of one of the freight elevator doors. This was consistent with similar reports by numerous other witnesses who saw fireballs erupting and blowing out elevator doors and burning people. In September 2002, Rodriguez said in an CNN interview:
...and at that terrible day when I took people out of the office, one of them totally burned because he was standing in front of the freight elevator and the ball of fire came down the duct of the elevator itself, I put him on the ambulance.
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