Flag made of firehoses sparks dispute in Portsmouth

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At first glance, the display in a courthouse security office looks like an American flag.

Alternating red and white firehoses make up most of the piece. A thin blue line runs through its middle in support of law enforcement and emergency personnel. That makes it a work of art, said Chief Circuit Judge Johnny Morrison.

Sheriff Bill Watson wanted it to hang in a courthouse hallway, but the city’s four circuit judges put a stop to it. They filed an order to remove the display from public areas of the judicial center.

Now it hangs in the window of a courthouse security office that looks out on the commons area. Watson is fuming that the display – which he says is a flag – can’t be hung in the commons area, said department spokesman Capt. Lee Cherry.