William Rodriguez and NIST

"I disagree 100% with the government story," said Rodriguez. "I met with the 9/11 Commission behind closed doors and they essentially discounted everything I said regarding the use of explosives to bring down the north tower.

And I contacted NIST previously four times without a response. Finally, this week I asked them before they came up with their conclusion that jet fuel brought down the towers, if they ever considered my statements or the statements of any of the other survivors who heard the explosions. They just stared at me with blank faces and didn’t have any answers.”
If this encounter happened, perhaps the NIST engineers looked at Rodriguez with blank faces because they did not conclude that “jet fuel brought down the towers.” That is a common conspiracist "straw man" argument, and is false. Further, when Rodriguez made that statement, NIST was in the middle of its investigation into the tower collapses. Its final report was released more than a year and a half later.

Rodriguez’s main argument these days is that the fireball which burned people on the basement levels below him could not have been caused by jet fuel traveling down the elevator shafts.

However, here is what Rodriguez told CNN on September 11, 2002:
“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.” Source

And what did Rodriguez say when he had the chance to go on the public record at a meeting held by NIST big shots in New York? Remember, his constant complaint is that his claims are either suppressed or ignored. Here is his statement in full (emphases mine).

Hi, I'm William Rodriguez. I'm not with the FDNY. Actually I’m the last survivor pulled from the rubble.

I worked in the building for 20 years. I'm kind of here to pull NIST ears a little bit ‘cause I was with you guys in Congress. I was here when you came the second time. And I was never called. I was never called for my testimony. In a sense, I’ve been the expert for the media, for the actual media, on everything related to 9/11 and the last moments of the people that were there. I worked in the building for 20 years. And I have one of the few master keys that were available on 9/11. And I was being followed by the fire department and the police – the Port Authority department on that day. I was opening the doors. And I know for a fact that you haven't called people that worked for structural employees.

If you go, obviously, to the supervisors, and you go to the company, they’re going to try to keep this information. You should go directly to the employees that worked there for so many years. And get their experience. For example, I still have the pictures that I offered the NIST in Congress, on the hearings, of the stairs in the building. I still have them here. And I’ve never been called. I’ve got them all here.

Also, we told – ask the people from the asbestos removal business, because it was going on constantly. And that was one of the problems that I had with the – I was the person that cleaned the stairs in the building on the North Tower. And cleaning the stairs in the building gave me a personal look at what was going on. And I'm not an expert, but it made me an expert of what was happening that was wrong with the Port Authority. I remember on the 21st floor, on the 13th floor, there was structural damage on the staircases. I told this personally to Gene Morragio (ph) and Ed Strauss (ph) who are dead now, building operation managers of the Port Authority. And nothing was done with the structural damages. The stairs were cracking. The sheet rock, when I went up opening the doors, was falling on top of me and on top of the firemen constantly. And the swaying of the building made it easier for that to come off.

I remember listening to the fluorescent lights, the emergency lights that were in the building, cracking up in line; pop, pop, pop, pop, pop all the way to the bottom because of the swiveling. And one of the things, I mean, the sound of fear of the people on the floors was a constant reminder of what the fire department was trying to do that day, and the problems that we were experiencing. Not all the sprinkler systems worked. Not all the warble alarms on every floor worked.

The fire, the ball of fire, for example, I was in the basement when the first plane hit the building. And at that moment, I thought it was an electrical generator that blew up at that moment. A person comes running into the office saying explosion, explosion, explosion. When I look at this guy; has all his skin pulled off of his body. Hanging from the top of his fingertips like it was a glove. And I said, what happened? He said the elevators. What happened was the ball of fire went down with such a force down the elevator shaft on the 58th (50A) – freight elevator, the biggest freight elevator that we have in the North Tower, it went out with such a force that it broke the cables. It went down, I think seven flights. The person survived because he was pulled from the B3 level. But this person, being in front of the doors waiting for the elevator, practically got his skin vaporized.

And so what I'm telling you this is, as I went up – from that moment, I got this guy out. I went up, I went back inside the building through the basement. And there was people stuck on the lower elevators, the lower freight elevators that were in the other basements. And I saved two guys from there, they are alive right now, and they haven't been called to testify what they went through either. The problems they have when they went into the elevators, how they stopped working and things like that.

The fire escapes, as being the person in charge of cleaning them, I had constant problems with the Port Authority, constant problems because they didn’t enforce, for example, the no-smoking law inside the stairs. I would have people in groups of five smoking on the stairs with trashcans inside the staircases, trashcans from the floors on a constant basis. And I will tell them, “You got to get out.” They’d say, you're not a cop. Only on two occasions, because I took pictures, and that’s the reason I have the pictures on the stairs because I didn't want to get – I was getting warnings from my cleaning company, constantly. You didn’t clean these areas. Yes, I did. Yes, I did. But they will go back and they will do it. They will leave and they will do all these problems over there.

Dr. Hill: William, we obviously need to talk to you. You have some very valuable information. I have a note here that we attempted to contact you and weren't successful. Could you stay around afterwards so we could talk to you a little bit?

W. Rodriguez: Sure. I would be glad to. Okay, thank you very much.

Dr. Hill: Thank you.

Source: Transcript of NIST Public Meeting in New York City – February 12, 2004, p. 70. Dr. James Hill and Dr. S. Shyam Sunder of NIST, presiding.

An investigation confirmed controlled demolition?
Rodriguez: "Because that came out in the investigation that, probably that, this explosion was to weaken the base of the foundation of the building, to be synchronized with the hit on the top, so it would fall automatically." Source (11:50)
Note that Rodriguez does not state what investigation he is talking about. He gives the misleading impression that the official investigation came to this conclusion. It did not. No investigation did.
"Independent investigators said both towers suspiciously fell "like a house of cards," claiming that William probably heard pre-arranged detonated bomb blasts, strategically placed and timed to make it appear that the plane was the cause of the collapse." Source
I wonder when these independent investigators will be coming forward with this stunning evidence?

Meanwhile, in addition to the official NIST investigation, a major independent investigation into the cause of the collapses was done by Weidlinger Associates and others. It concluded that the collapses were caused by damage and fire. Other scientific studies were done by ARUP Fire, by the Centre of Fire Research Excellence at the University of Edinburgh, and by MIT. They do not support the conspiracist claims.

Links to NIST & FEMA reports, 9/11 WTC Tower Collapse Analyses

Links to Fire Safety Engineering information & the Performance of Structural Steel in Fires

"There is no scientific basis for the conclusion that explosions brought down the towers. That representation of our work is categorically incorrect and not in context."
– Arthur Lerner-Lam, seismologist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.
Rodriguez's contention that the basement explosions were deliberate, to damage the tower core columns, is nonsensical. There is no evidence that the elevator shaft explosions caused structural damage. Their overpressures knocked down non-load bearing walls, blew out doors, brought down false ceilings, and broke pipes. Even the 1993 truck bomb, which was the equivalent of 1,500 lbs (680 kg) of TNT, did not destroy the parking garage columns around it. The tower core columns at the basement levels were much more robust than those parking garage columns. 
Damage to the WTC parking garage from the 1993 bombing. Columns not destroyed.


The people who were closest to the elevator shaft explosions were burned by jet fuel: many of them tell us so. High explosives do not produce large fireballs that smell of kerosene. The Hollywood-style fireballs that we see in movies and television shows are produced with fuel, commonly gasoline. Anyone close enough to a large high explosive detonation to be burned would also be reduced to many pieces by the blast. Demolition charges that are designed to cut steel produce little heat and almost no flame. Their energy is highly focused, which is why they must be placed at a precise distance from bare steel. They also must be placed on many columns of a building. They did not cause the elevator shaft explosions.
Rodriguez told me that he smelled kerosene in the basement just after the noises he heard below and above, but he somehow fails to connect that with the jet fuel that so many other people reported (jet-A fuel is basically kerosene). 
For more information about the effects of different explosives on the human body, and about Jet-A fuel composition, flammability, and explosivity, see:

Conspiracists have not presented a shred of evidence that supports their controlled demolition claim, nor have they produced any evidence that the lower level blasts were due to anything but jet fuel. Their “experts” are utterly incompetent and haven’t written a single paper that could pass the most basic peer review. It’s 2007. I wonder what they're waiting for.