William Rodriguez became a true American hero on one of the the darkest day in his nation's history.
A janitor in the World Trade Centre, he was the last man alive out of the twin towers, saved 15 lives on 9/11 and became an internationally-known celebrity when he was pulled out of the debris.
But now, claiming he has been abandoned by his government, ignored by the 9/11 compensation boards and left homeless, Rodriguez is travelling the world, telling his story. His latest stop was in Birmingham and speaking at the Carrs Lane Church Centre, Rodriguez told the story of how he felt abandoned by the establishment.
"I have never received a penny of compensation for it, not a penny," he said, proudly showing off the first new jacket he has been able to buy since the tragedy. "I ended up homeless last year after raising millions and millions of dollars for organisations for the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and so on."
Rodriguez became a tireless campaigner for families of the victims of 9/11 in the months and years after the event, fighting for recognition for the families of immigrants killed in the attacks.
"At one point I was presenting a television show, giving out a number for victims to call for compensation," he said. "I did that for a while, then when I finished, went straight off set and phoned the number myself. But it didn't help. I lost my apartment, I lost my job, and I found myself just an activist, living under a bridge."
For the last few years, he has been visiting countries around the world, relating his harrowing experiences, and trying to persuade people that the official explanation of 9/11 doesn't match up with his own experiences.
Rodriguez was lauded for his brave actions on the day. After being evacuated when the first plane hit the tower, he refused to wait in safety, and repeatedly went back inside the North Tower, dragging people to safety and helping firefighters by opening doors with his copy of the master key for the building – which he still carries with him.
He says he heard explosions from the lower levels of the tower while he was inside rescuing people, which contradicts what most people understand happened on the day.
And he has been joined by other 9/11 conspiracy theorists, who believe the US government destroyed the tower itself in order to justify its foreign policy.
The Republican Party, which was originally grooming him for office after he became a celebrity when he appeared on television on 9/11, dropped him like a hot potato for his outspoken views.
But he remains steadfast. "I don't do this for attention, I'm already a part of history," he said. "I don't do this for the fame, or the television time, absolutely not. I do it because I owe it to the memories of 200 friends I will never see again."