Never mind the praise heaped on him by President Clinton and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, hero cop Denfield Otto got the ultimate New York reward - a chance to appear on "The Late Show with David Letterman."

Otto, who wore his dress uniform, was the first guest on the CBS show Thursday. Letterman introduced him by saying: "People suggest all the time that we live in a time without heroes but here is a real live hero."The 54-year-old Otto was off duty and on his way to choir practice Wednesday when flames engulfed his subway car. He dashed to a token booth, grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran back to fight the flames, which injured more than 40 of his fellow riders, some critically.

After recounting the firebombing, Otto joined the Transit Police choir on stage and sang "Winter Wonderland."

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Giuliani credited Otto with limiting damage from the blaze, and Clinton congratulated him by phone.

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