Lindenhurst EMT who worked at Ground Zero dies

A 44-year-old Lindenhurst woman who worked tirelessly at Ground Zero in the weeks following Sept. 11 died Sunday after a battle with cancer.

Relatives say Paula Rodriguez was an EMT with the New York City Fire Department for more than a decade. She was among the first responders who sifted through rubble and breathed in toxic fumes, searching for bodies after the terrorist attacks, her family says.

Though doctors have not confirmed the link between Rodriguez's non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and her work at Ground Zero, her longtime boyfriend, Robert, believes her work there caused the illness.

Paula's son, Luke, says even with health insurance, medical bills piled up. He plans to honor his mother's memory by raising money for other first responders who fell ill after working at Ground Zero.

Last week, a House committee approved a bill that would provide billions of dollars for sick first responders.

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