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EMT-Hero Dad Dies of Heart Attack

NEW YORK -- A Queens EMT, who had saved at least two lives while off duty, died suddenly after suffering a heart attack as he unpacked his car, his devastated wife said yesterday.

Wendell O'Brien, 42, who had been with the FDNY since 2001, had just returned home from Florida with his wife, Marcia, and children, Wendell Jr., 13, and Amanda, 11, when tragedy struck Monday.

"He made me want to live my life better," said Marcia, 40, a hospital administrator. "He was just amazing."

O'Brien, of Rosedale, was recognized by The Post for saving the life of a neighbor's child in 2003.

He rushed to the aid of Hannah Holguin, 9, who was choking on a bottle cap. He performed the Heimlich maneuver, then accompanied her to the hospital.

"I just feel heartbroken," said a tearful Hannah, now 14 and living in Tennessee. "We were so close. He was like a second father to me. He was my hero. If he wasn't there that night, I wouldn't be here."

Two years later, O'Brien helped stop a suicidal woman from throwing herself into the East River.

O'Brien's death "is a great loss to the department," said FDNY spokesman Steve Ritea. "He was a model employee and will be greatly missed."

A wake will be held from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at the J. Foster Phillips Funeral Home, 179-24 Linden Blvd. The funeral will be 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Church of God of Prophecy, 194-15 Linden Blvd.

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