Unlike the Redskins, the Hogs sign at Engine Company No. 8 in Southeast Washington may be resurrected for the remaining NFL playoff season.
A Redskins booster, Mayor Marion Barry, dropped by the firehouse at 1520 C St. SE last night and told firefighters he would try to arrange for the recently banned sign to rise again.
Fire department brass ordered the sign -- a department insignia with a hog's head where the U.S. Capitol usually appears -- covered or taken down from the front of the firehouse about an hour before Sunday's Redskins-Bears playoff game at RFK Stadium.
The hog's head symbolizes the Hogs, the nickname of the Redskins' offensive line.
Senior fire officials felt the sign defaced the department's emblem, according to firefighters at Company No. 8.
The mayor "didn't say for sure that the sign would go back up, or for how long," said Lt. Homer Davison. "He was very diplomatic."
But Davison and firefighter Dennis Murphy said Barry "sympathized with us" and promised to discuss the issue with top fire officials.
"As chief booster of the Redskins, it's important to support them in victory or defeat," Barry was quoted as saying. The Redskins were dumped by the Bears 23-17 on Sunday, eliminating them from the playoffs.
The firefighters said Barry arrived at the station house at 6 p.m. and stayed for about 10 minutes. "He spent a few minutes campaigning along C Street," said Davison.
Company No. 8 is first to respond to emergencies at RFK Stadium, which is about five blocks away. That proximity has fostered fierce Redskins loyalty among many of the firefighters. After the big bay doors at the firehouse had gone unpainted for the last four years, the firefighters said, the Redskins organization donated paint that approximates the team's colors. The firefighters also sport T-shirts with the same hog's head insignia.
Company No. 8 lost a bet with their fire department counterparts in Chicago as a result of the Redskins' defeat and will be sending 36 T-shirts to the winners of the wager.
"I told the mayor it was a small price to pay for being a Redskins fan," said Murphy, who originated the idea for the sign.
Murphy said he told Barry that "next year, we'll win him a Dallas shirt."
The fire department has been wracked in recent years by unrest over allegations of reverse discrimination and the leadership policies of Fire Chief Theodore R. Coleman. Two lawsuits brought by disgruntled white firefighters who left the department are pending in U.S. District Court.
The decision to ban the sign reportedly came from Deputy Chief Maurice Kilby, who was acting chief on Sunday in Coleman's absence.
The department's communications division said last night that Coleman and Kilby were be unavailable for comment on Barry's visit.
"We didn't do it erect the sign to make waves or anything," said Murphy. He said the entire station complement of 21 firefighters and 18 paramedics had worked to paint the doors Redskin red and gold.
"We've got a good house here," Murphy added. "Everybody pulls together -- although with the sign, we may have overdone it."