William Rodriguez, is a native of Puerto Rico, a citizen of the United States, and a resident of the State of New Jersey. On September 11, 2001, and for approximately nineteen years prior thereto, Rodriguez was employed as a maintenance worker at the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York, New York.
On 9/11, Rodriguez single-handedly rescued fifteen (15) persons from the WTC, and as Rodriguez was the only person at the site with the master key to the North Tower stairwells, he bravely led firefighters up the stairwell, unlocking doors as they ascended, thereby aiding in the successful evacuation of unknown hundreds of those who survived. Rodriguez, at great risk to his own life, re-entered the Towers three times after the first, North Tower impact at about 8:46 A.M., and is believed to be the last person to exit the North Tower alive, surviving the building’s collapse by diving beneath a fire truck. After receiving medical attention at the WTC site for his injuries, Rodriguez spent the rest of 9/11 aiding as a volunteer in the rescue efforts, and at dawn the following morning, was back at Ground Zero continuing his heroic efforts.
Rodriguez lost his employment of 19 years and his means of earning a living as a direct result of the attacks on the WTC on 9/11. Deeply affected, as one might imagine, by his experiences of 9/11, Rodriguez has, in a variety of capacities and through several different organizations, worked ever since that terrible day to help others who were affected by the atrocities committed. He has continued in these labors, notwithstanding the fact that, due to the loss of his employment, he has been unable to earn a living, and was even homeless for a time.
Here are a few links to news articles which have
included William Rodriguez:
• 9/11 United Services
Group Names Five Victims’ Representatives to its Board
New York, NY [February 22, 2002]
— The 9/11 United Services Group (USG) announced today that it has named five victims’ representatives to its board of directors. These representatives will assist the USG in assessing the needs of victims, their families and others affected by the events of September 11, help it to examine both long-term and unmet needs of victims, and provide advice on how to serve them better.
William Rodriguez, formerly an American Building Maintenance employee for twenty years, was responsible for inspection and maintenance at the World Trade Center and held the master key for the stairs. He was the last person to leave the building on September 11 and has been credited with saving many lives.
• Return to Ground Zero
September 13, 2004
New York marked the third anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks
with a ceremony Saturday at the site of the former World Trade Center. Ray Suarez visited Ground Zero shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, and he returned to the site on Saturday for the remembrance ceremony.
• WTC survivor a guiding light in disasters
Saturday, September 11, 2004
By ELIZABETH LLORENTE
The publisher of a Spanish-language weekly tabloid listened intently
behind his vast desk as William Rodriguez spoke about the plight of the
survivors of a supermarket fire in Paraguay that killed more than 300 people.
from the March 25, 2004 edition of Christian Science Monitor
• A key force behind the 9/11 commission
Family and victims’ groups have provided a ‘road map’ for the probe, asking tough questions.
By Gail Russell Chaddock | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
WASHINGTON – William Rodriguez was the last man to run out of the World Trade Center. Had he made it to work on time, he and the master key to the stairwells would have been near the top of the complex when the second plane hit.
Instead, he raced up the stairwells he had maintained for 20 years to unlock doors and help people escape. “I was protected for another purpose,” he says. Credited with saving many lives, he received a National Hero Award from the Senate of Puerto Rico and organized the Hispanic Victims Group.
• Janitor tells 9/11 panel of brush with WTC thug
By JAMES GORDON MEEK
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU
WASHINGTON – A hero janitor who helped victims escape from the World Trade Center’s north tower before it collapsed told the 9/11 panel that he came across one of the hijackers in the building a few months before the attack.
William Rodriguez, 43, of Jersey City met with the commission for the first time last week.