SAYREVILLE — The woman whose 1-month-old niece was caught by a Sayreville police officer after she was thrown from the window of their burning house isn't sure how to thank the cop and the department. She just knows they deserve all her gratitude.

Kristin Nelson's home on Jacobsen Street was destroyed by fire on Monday. Nelson's 12-year-old daughter Jailyn had already escaped the flames and alerted Officer Brian Gay to four additional relatives, including her mom, on the second floor of the two-family home.

The officer ran over and caught the 1-month-old girl after Nelson strapped her into a carrier and tossed from the window. The officer broke the fall of two other girls, ages 8 and 10. The girls were staying at the house for a visit with their aunt and cousin.

"I can't think of a word because there's so many emotions going on right now it's impossible to put it all in one word," Nelson, a single mother, said Thursday.

"I want to do something but I don't know what to do," Nelson, who lived on the second floor, said. "Do I go there and buy them all lunch? But then I think — wait a minute, I can't really spend money right now because everything I have it literally everything I have. I want to go over there. I am so grateful for everything."

"I don't know what to say but 'thank you' but then I get emotional and can't really talk."

Nelson said the experience is unreal to her and makes her admire the work of police and firefighters.

"I couldn't imagine doing this every single day risking their lives and their family is sitting at home wondering if they're going to come home for dinner. They're amazing, all of them."

Nelson said the house has been declared uninhabitable and will be demolished.

Nelson's sister-in-law Lindsey Nelson created a GoFundMe page to collect donations to help Kristin get back on her feet after losing everything in the fire.

"She is a single mom who does anything and everything for my niece to give her the best life she can," she said.

Nelson's husband died in a car accident in 2013 while she was pregnant with their daughter. Nelson had recently started a new job.

Lindsey Nelson said the Red Cross has helped out with some necessities and the Hair Together beauty salon on Route 9 in the Farmer's Market parking lot is collecting donations of gift cards and gently used clothing.

"All basic necessities are needed especially clothes for my sister-in-law and niece," Lindsey Nelson said.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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