A Prince George's County firefighter won the raffle yesterday of a controversial Redskins hog's head sign that once hung outside Engine Co. No. 8's home in Southeast Washington, and the Washington Hospital Center burn unit became $5,000 richer as a result.
But the biggest winners may be the firefighters of Engine No. 8, who were granted permission to hang another hog's head next football season.
"If Engine 8 decided to put a sign up next year, I will permit it," said D.C. Fire Chief Theodore Coleman, who presided over the raffle yesterday.
Firefighters at the station, which is only five blocks from RFK Stadium and is the first fire company to respond to emergencies there, designed and painted the sign last year to display pride in the hometown football team. But department officials ordered it removed before the start of the NFC semifinal playoff between the Redskins and the Chicago Bears.
The day after the Redskins lost that game, Mayor Marion Barry went to the firehouse and promised to try to get the sign rehung. Soon after, the sign was restored; it remained until late January.
Engine 8 firefighters had 50,000 raffle tickets printed to be sold for $1 each. Restrictions on selling tickets for games of chance hampered their efforts, but about 5,300 tickets were sold, a spokesman said.
"We wanted to give something back to the city that's been very good to us," said firefighter Dennis Murphy.
Proceeds from the raffle went to the Washington Hospital Center burn unit, which has treated dozens of injured firefighters over the years. Dr. Marion Jordan, an official of the burn unit, said the money raised by the raffle will be used to research the treatment of burn victims.
Jordan reached into a wire mesh drum and plucked the winning name, William (Chip) Campbell, 24, a volunteer firefighter in Silver Hill near the District line.
Campbell, an avid Redskins fan, said he was undecided about what to do with his sign, which has now been autographed by most of the football team's players.