‘Last Man Out: A 9/11 Hero’s Story’ at UW-EC


Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2007 11:02 AM CDT

William Rodriguez, believed to be the last man out of the World Trade Center’s north tower on 9/11, will speak at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Friday, April 20. “Last Man Out: A 9/11 Hero’s Story” will be presented at 7 p.m. in Schofield Auditorium. Admission is free and open to all.

A native of Puerto Rico, citizen of the United States and resident of New Jersey, Rodriguez was employed for nearly 20 years as a maintenance worker at the World Trade Center in New York. On Sept. 11, 2001, he personally rescued 15 people from the north tower and saved hundreds of lives by using his master key — the only one on the site — to open stairwell doors for fire department rescue crews. At great risk to his own life, he re-entered the building three times after the first impact at about 8:46 a.m.

Rodriguez is believed to be the last person to exit the north tower alive and survived the building’s collapse by diving beneath a fire truck. After receiving medical attention at the World Trade Center 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, he was back to continue his efforts at Ground Zero.

Rodriguez has spoken to audiences in the United Kingdom, Venezuela, Malaysia and other countries and has appeared many times on all the major Spanish-language TV networks.

The founder and president of the Hispanic Victims Group, Rodriguez was a member of the Families Advisory Council for Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. Featured in the documentary “9/11: Press for Truth” (2006) along with the 9/11 widows known as the “Jersey Girls,” Rodriguez was a key force behind the establishment of the 9/11 Commission to prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The program is co-sponsored by the L.E. Philips Memorial Public Library and the University Activities Commission of the UW-Eau Claire Student Senate.