John J. Heleker, Jr., Chief of Peekskill
Chief John J. Heleker, Jr., whose portrait is presented herewith, was elected on December 14, 1922, as head of the Peekskill, N. Y., fire department, winning by twelve votes over his opponent, Thomas Dasey, the former chief. Chief Heleker was born in Peekskill on September 4, 1878. He joined the Washington Engine Company of Peekskill in 1898, and was elected to the fire department on November 12, 1907. He served as president of this company for two years, from 1907 to 1909. He was elected second assistant foreman of the Nelson Avenue Company January 1, 1915. He became first assistant foreman in 1916 and foreman in 1917. On December 13, 1913, he was elected second assistant engineer of the fire department, and was re-elected December 11, 1920. Besides being a member of the Washington Engine Company he is an associate member ‘of the Columbian Engine Company. He is looked upon as an efficient fire fighter. Chief Heleker is a member of the New York State Fire Chiefs’ Association.
In his annual report, dated January 23, 1923, Chief Heleker records 117 alarms for the year with 91 fires. The total loss on buildings was $42,675.30, on contents $73,080.41 and on automobiles $750, making a total of $116,505.71. Besides this the large fire at the Fleishmann Manufacturing Company’s plant caused a loss of $75,000 on buildings and contents, making a total for the year of $191,505.71. While this list appears large the chief calls attention to the fact that besides the Fleishmann fire there was one of over $71,000 loss and still another of nearly $20,000 loss, making the aggregate unusually large. The number of hours of actual fire duty for the department was 99 hours and 16 minutes. The attendance at general and false alarms during the year was 2,216, an average of 79 placed on each alarm. The department laid 32,900 feet of fire hose and 1,650 feet of chemical hose. There were also 1,630 feet of ladders raised and 817 1/2 gallons of chemicals used. The total number of hours that the fire apparatus of the department were out of commission were 314 hours and 45 minutes, or less than three days in the year for each apparatus.