By Deanna Spingola
William Rodriguez, a 9-11 Survivor
August 25, 2005 06:13 AM EST
This past week I had the great pleasure of meeting William Rodriquez, a humble man from Puerto Rico who worked at the World Trade Center. He looked healthy in spite of suffering from many 9-11 related toxic diseases.
The occasion was at a special meeting at the Schaumburg, Illinois Township Library in the Chicago suburbs. This informative presentation served as a memorial for the many victims as we approach the fourth year anniversary of 9-11. In addition to William other knowledgeable and well qualified individuals presented their thoughts: Phil Jayhan, Dave VonKleist and Christopher Bollyn, a journalist with the American Free Press. This event, which should have been standing room only, was sponsored in part by the American Free Press as well as Jimmy Walter and Eric Hufschmid, a physicist and author of Painful Questions.
A press release was sent to all of the print media in the Chicago area about a month in advance of this event. There was a very tiny isolated notice about the event in one of the Chicago papers. Surely the local newspapers would wish to interview the participants on such an important subject as 9-11. But, only one Hispanic television station sent a journalist and a camera. So we must assume that the other Chicago news organizations have already determined exactly what they desire their readers to believe about 9-11. Let's not deviate from the government version and confuse people with the truth!
William Rodriquez gave an outstanding, sensitive discourse of his experiences on that fateful morning. He appears to be a genuinely warm, gentle caring human being and it is easy to believe that his relationship with his many fellow employees was much more - they were also his long time friends. Daily, he met with them for breakfast in the Windows on the World Restaurant on the 106th floor. Nearly two hundred people, most of William's friends, were in the restaurant that morning. None of them survived. Not only did he lose his job on 11 September 2001, he lost most of his friends. William would have also perished had he been in the restaurant that morning but he arrived at work at 8:30 a.m. rather than his usual time of 8:00 a.m.
William had worked for the New York Port Authority for about twenty years. He was in charge of the three stairwells - A, B and C. They were narrow and without windows. There were also 150 elevators in the building. He knew the building well. His job included the maintenance of the three narrow stairwells in the class "A" building - WTC1, the north tower. On a typical morning, he would have breakfast then begin at the top of the building and methodically work his way down. Arriving at 8:30 on the morning of 9-11 he went to the maintenance office located on the first sublevel, one of six sub-basements beneath ground level. There were a total of fourteen people in the office at this time. As he was talking with others, there was a very loud massive explosion which seemed to emanate from between sub-basement B2 and B3. There were twenty-two people on B2 sub-basement who also felt and heard that first explosion.
At first he thought it was a generator that had exploded. But the cement walls in the office cracked from the explosion. "When I heard the sound of the explosion, the floor beneath my feet vibrated, the walls started cracking and everything started shaking." said Rodriguez, who was crowded together with fourteen other people in the office including Anthony Saltamachia, supervisor for the American Maintenance Company.
Just seconds later there was another explosion way above which made the building oscillate momentarily. This, he was later told, was a plane hitting the 90th floor. Upon hearing about the plane, he immediately thought of the people up in the restaurant. Then there were other explosions just above B1 and individuals started heading for the loading dock to escape the explosion's resulting rampant fire. When asked later about those first explosions he said: "I would know if an explosion was from the bottom or the top of the building." He heard explosions both before and after the plane hit the tower.
A fellow worker Felipe David came into the office. "He had been standing in front of a freight elevator on sub-level 1 about 400 feet from the office when fire burst out of the elevator shaft, causing his injuries." The skin on his face had been peeled away by the heat of the blast and he was horribly burned on thirty-three percent of his body. "He was burned so badly from the basement explosion that flesh was hanging from his face and both arms." William asks: "How could a jetliner hit 90 floors above and burn a man's arms and face to a crisp in the basement below within seconds of impact?" William led Felipe David outside to safety. William continued to hear people screaming and returned to the building in spite of police orders. There were people encased in elevators. There were people who needed help.
There was a swooshing sound coming from the freight elevators on B2 and B3. Water from the fire sprinklers from all of the floors had gone into the elevator shaft. There were two individuals trapped below who were in danger of drowning. Rodriguez was able to secure a long enough ladder to extend into the shaft to facilitate their escape from a watery grave.
He had possession of just one of the five master keys that opened all of the stairwell doors at each of the floors in the 110 story building. The other four key holders were trained for emergencies. They had already left the building. Firemen from New York City Unit Six arrived. Each fireman, in addition to protective clothing, had about 70 pounds of equipment. William, who now had the only key, led the firemen up stairwell B. Firemen were going up as victims were coming down. The stairwells were narrow with no windows.
The firemen made it up to the 27th floor but were exhausted from the burden of their equipment. As William had ascended up the stairwell he, as well as the firemen, had heard explosions from the 20th through the 30th floor. Chunks of the building were falling down all around them and they could literally hear the building coming down. Yet, the firemen continued to climb and give aid. After all, they assumed the fire was isolated at the location where the plane entered.
On the 33rd floor, William was able to procure some dust masks from a maintenance office. The air was thick with smoke. On the 33rd floor he found a woman laying on the floor in a fetal position. She didn't know where to go or what to do. They had fire drills twice a year but because of employee turnover, not everyone had a clear view of emergency procedures. While some individuals intuitively respond appropriately in an emergency, others are absolutely paralyzed by their fears.
Strangely, while William was on the 33rd floor he heard lots of very loud noise as if someone was moving heavy equipment and furniture around on the 34th floor. The reason this is interesting is that the 34th floor was completely empty. Elevators did not stop at the 34th floor. It was off limits due to a construction project. He said that this was the first time that he felt fear.
They continued to ascend to the 39th floor. This is as far as William got before he was turned back by the firefighters. As he began his descent he heard the plane hit the south tower.
He made it back down to the hole where the front doors used to be before they were blown out. The bottoms of the elevator doors were blown partially open. He couldn't breath, his eyes burned, his leg was burned. Someone yelled: "Don't look back!" William looked back momentarily then raced for the first cover he saw - a fire truck. That is where he was found. Pulverized concrete mixed with asbestos and smoke created a dark cloud of doom. Flashlights were necessary. William received temporary medical assistance and then went to work trying to find survivors.
The mangled bloodied bodies of the jumpers blanketed the ground. William will never forget the anguish he felt or the sight of this senseless horrific carnage. This was evidence of desperation - people desperate to escape possible death by suffocation or by fire chose death by jumping. The fires were contained and isolated. Much of the flame actually burned outside of the building upon impact. The fire was out - even at the giant gaping hole where the plane breached the building where people worked, talked with friends and felt relatively safe.
William Rodriguez saved lives that day. Currently he is attempting to alert the public to what actually happened. He is a courageous witness to those terrible events. The controlled censored media doesn't really appear willing to report the real news but rather they promote whatever the propaganda ministry wants the masses to believe. It takes continuous courage to go against such opposition but that is the kind of man he is. He says that he owes it to his friends - those that were slaughtered for some covert political agenda.
William spent hours testifying before the 9-11 Commission behind closed doors. His testimony as an eye witness does not appear anywhere in the 576 page report. But after all, Bush told us who did it, so why bother to examine the evidence or talk with the witnesses. The only agency that was allowed to investigate the circumstances of the event was FEMA.
The National Institute of Safety and Technology (NIST), an independent investigative group ignored his plea to tell his story. He contacted them four times but never got a response. NIST was funded by the government which gives you a pretty good idea of just how subjective their findings were. They were paid $35 million dollars and the investigation lasted two years. The taxpayers certainly did not get their money's worth.
William Rodriguez also contacted the FBI who never followed up. The media was not interested. CNN spent a day filming and interviewing him at his home but when it was shown the following day it was thoroughly edited. Some reporters have subtly warned Rodriguez to keep quiet as he could jeopardize his life. They said "You do not know who you are dealing with!" He already looked death in the face and he will probably continue to courageously tell his story. He is speaking the truth and he is speaking it for his friends. He says: "I am living on borrowed time since I probably should be dead anyway."
William Rodriguez is the lead plaintiff in a RICO lawsuit filed against George W. (warmonger) Bush and others. He is alleging conspiracy to commit murder and other crimes. So not only is he speaking for his friends but he is seeking justice for all of the victims, both those who died and those who were injured.
The World Trade Center twin towers were built from 1968 to 1972. To fireproof the building a mixture of asbestos and cement was sprayed during the construction. However, this fireproofing technique was banned in 1971 by the New York City Council. By then there was already hundreds of tons of this material in the building. Later, some of this material was removed yet there was still about 100 tons of asbestos remaining. Asbestos was used in other areas that would not leave the harmful residue unless there were extraordinary circumstances such as those that occurred on 9-11.
William Rodriguez says: "I have tried to tell my story to everybody, but nobody wants to listen. It is very strange what is going on here in supposedly the most democratic country in the world. In my home country of Puerto Rico and all the other Latin American countries, I have been allowed to tell my story uncensored. But here, I can't even say a word." Thank goodness for the alternative media where one may still discover the truth.
On 11 September 2001 our defense systems failed, NORAD failed, our president, intent on a goat story, failed to immediately respond; the twin towers failed - they collapsed - the only known steel frame buildings in history claimed to have failed because of fire. Other steel frame buildings have been known to burn for hours and hours yet they did not collapse. Of course, we do not know the cause of their failure as the evidence was rendered unavailable for investigation - either immediately sold or otherwise withheld. There was also the failure of the local authorities to warn the people about the toxic air that burned their lungs and blanketed their homes and would create life long health problems. They were told that there was no problem.
After 9-11 there was a failure to discover exactly who made millions on all of the put options on American Airlines and United Airlines. That was another failure. So many failures and I haven't heard of one person reprimanded for inefficiency. However, there are those who were promoted.
However, there were also great successes:
The firemen who gave their lives - crushed in the totally unexpected and unusual building collapses. There were medical people who tenderly treated the trauma struck victims. The policemen did not fail and the thousands of volunteers who searched for the dead and dying did not fail. There were search and rescue dogs who did not fail - many of whom have since died of cancer. And William Rodriguez did not fail. He acted appropriately -just like a man of integrity and courage should act. He did not hesitate. Unlike others who should have responded immediately, he sprang into action and made selfless sacrifices for others.