For the second time in three years, a half-ton man was removed by forklift through the picture window of his home and taken to the hospital.

About 50 people watched workmen remove the glass, drive a lift up to the opening and load Michael Hebranko, 46, onto a wooden pallet for transfer to a special "whale stretcher."

Hebranko, whose weight paramedics estimated at 1,100 pounds, was then put into an ambulance and driven with police escort to St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, which has an obesity treatment unit.

"I am responsible for my life, the way everyone else is responsible for theirs," he said before being carried out of his Brooklyn bungalow. "I wouldn't be going to the hospital if I'd given up hope."

In 1996, the former pharmaceutical salesman entered the hospital weighing an estimated 800 pounds. He was placed on a 1,600-calorie-a-day diet and fluid was drained from his body. He returned home two months later, about 400 pounds lighter, and promised to "walk around the block."

While he did take a few walks, he put back on the weight and more, mainly from a diet that included 24 hot dogs for breakfast, pounds of ham and cheese, loaves of bread and other large orders.

He likened his eating habit to alcoholism: "Once I start eating I cannot stop. It's a disease."

Hebranko received support from Hollywood fitness guru Richard Simmons, who once helped him lose 700 pounds to become a svelte 199 pounds.

CAPTION: Paramedics remove Michael Hebranko, 46, who weighs about 1,100 pounds, through a window in his home and transfer him onto a "whale stretcher."