William Rodríguez was a 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.
At the White House on five occasions and recognized as a “National Hero” by the Senate of Puerto Rico, William Rodriguez, in possession of a master key to all of the stairwell doors at each floor in the 110 story building that day, personally saved the lives of 15 people and aided NYC firefighters in saving hundreds of others.
In 2004 Rodriguez unsuccessfully sued President Bush and 155 others in the federal court alleging Bush's complicity in the 9/11 attacks.
Subsequently, Rodriguez traveled around talking about conspiracy theories and his experiences on 9/11, giving motivational lectures and discussing disaster management
September 11 attacks
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.
Though Rodriguez' October 2004 lawsuit Rodriguez v. Bush alleges that bombs were planted in the sub-basement and the Twin Towers brought down by controlled demolition, no claim is made there that Rodriguez witnessed any explosives or incendiary devices himself. Nor are any of Rodriguez' claimed 14 corroborating witnesses named or quoted, though the Complaint quotes dozens of others. Of the 27 witnesses Rodriguez claims he offered to the 9/11 Commission, which witnesses the Commission allegedly refused to interview and not one of them was quoted or identified in the lawsuit. None of the fifteen persons alleged in the first paragraph of the suit to have been "single-handedly rescued" by Rodriguez were identified either.
By August 17, 2007, after more than two years of telling his story to enthralled audiences, he told C-Span:
All of a sudden at 8:46… we hear 'BOOM!' An explosion so powerful and so loud that push us upward in the air coming from below! It was so powerful that all the walls cracked, the false ceiling fell on top of us, the fire sprinkler system got activated and everybody started screaming in horror: 'HELP! HELP! HELP!'
He claimed that he used a master key to let people out from behind locked emergency exit doors, saving hundreds of people, and that he turned down Hollywood movie deals worth millions and book contracts "from every publisher" because he "wanted to maintain [his] integrity."
He talked about explosions in the basement, before the plane hit, as well as secondary explosions occurring.
God Bless William Rodriguez
God Bless William Rodriguez
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