GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio — The three daughters of a beloved father who was killed in an explosion in Garfield Heights over the weekend opened up to News 5 about their heartache.
Jerry Bateman was one of three people killed when the house he lived in exploded in Garfield Heights on Saturday.
The State Fire Marshal is going through the process of elimination to find a cause, but hasn’t ruled out gas. A private fire investigator is also working to determine what happened.
RELATED: Private fire investigator looking for cause of Garfield Heights explosion
Jerry Bateman’s three daughters, Angela, Christina and Cierra, clung to a fence now keeping people out of the rubble.
“He didn’t deserve this, he should be here,” said Christina Bateman.
“All three of them should be here,” said Angela Bateman.
The grief is immense for the three women who just want their dad back.
“He was the best girl dad. He was so good to us we were his everything. Us three girls were his everything,” Christina Bateman said.
Christina Bateman says their father, Jerry, was at her house just 20 minutes before the explosion.
“And I didn’t say goodbye and that was like the worst mistake I could have ever done,” Christina Bateman said.
The sisters grabbed precious memories from the rubble as they prepare for funerals. They each got a piece of his clothing.
Angela Bateman hugged her father's jacket.
“It’s all we have left,” Angela Bateman said.
Cierra Bateman is the youngest of the three and lived with her dad.
“I really don’t have words right now, I really don’t,” Cierra Bateman said.
She found a bottle of his cologne, which brings some comfort.
“I sprayed everything — the bed, the pillows, this is even his shirt that we got,” said Cierra Bateman.
The three held a vigil at the fence line. Angela Bateman thought about her dad’s kindness and a life without him.
“Hugs, kisses, he’ll never get to walk me down the aisle like I never got those experiences like she did. Everything just hard to look at — grass, because he did landscaping,” said Angela Bateman.
Their sorrow is mixed with anger.
They want answers about how the explosion happened and say rumors circulating on social media are hurtful.
“This was a terrible accident and we don’t even know what happened, but whatever people are saying is not what happened,” Christina Bateman said.
The young women say talking about their dad, and the support from others, helps.
“He was the nicest person in the world, loved by many,” Cierra Bateman said.
“He was such a good person; he was so kind-hearted, he would give the shirt off his back to anybody,” Christina Bateman said.
They have a special request, especially for when they’re alone at night with their memories.
“If everyone could just say a prayer for our family, it’s really all we can ask for right now,” Angela Bateman said.
A funeral will be held Thursday for their father, Jerry, and aunt, Cassie Bateman. It’s a public funeral from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Yurch Funeral Home on Broadview road in Parma.
A fundraiser has been set up to raise money for funeral and other expenses for the family.
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