JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A mother, whose daughter was raped and murdered, smiled as the killer’s home was burned in a training exercise.
The girl’s mother called it a cathartic experience. Diena Thompson walked to the back of the house and threw a flare into a window and watched the house ignite.
“I get to burn their house down,” Thompon said. “I am the big bad wolf this time, knocking down your door.”
Five years ago, Jarred Harrell, 29, was squatting at the house which was under foreclosure. It belonged to his stepfather.
According to WJXT, 7-year-old Somer Thompson was walking home from school with her siblings one day when she ran ahead to pet a dog. Harrell lured the girl in and kidnapped, raped and suffocated her. Police found her body several days later in a Georgia landfill.
Thompson knew exactly what she wanted to do with the home after the bank donated it to her. She, in turn, donated the house to a local fire department for training.
Crews from several departments around the area practiced rescue missions and trained to find small fires they started inside the home.
Firefighters say they rarely have access to a real home which can provide valuable training.
“As an angel here on earth and none of us really knew what we had when we had her. She’s our sunshine and that she’s going to save children, she’s going to save lives,” Thompson said.
As flames ripped through the home, Thompson watched and remembered Somer.
“Burn baby burn, burn,” she said.