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Kids burned after road rage shooting ignited fireworks 3 years ago on road to recovery

“He’s had kids come up to him ask him what’s wrong with your hands, what happened, he had a kid tell him he looks weird,” said Jasmin Smith.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — It has been almost three years since two toddlers were severely burned after a road rage incident in which a bullet from a driver ignited Fourth of July fireworks in the backseat of a family’s truck.

The boys were helplessly strapped in their car seats as their bodies were burned.

As Reginald Smith drove the family home from buying fireworks, a vehicle began to follow their truck.

Words were exchanged and the other driver took off.

The family made a stop at a gas station and as they drove away, the other driver pulled out a rifle and fired into the truck.

“One of the rounds struck the fireworks in his vehicle causing the fireworks to explode,” said a Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputy at the scene.

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The fireworks continued to go off, burning three-year-old Messiah and two-year-old Bentley as they were strapped in their car seats.

In what the family says was a miracle, Reginald Smith was able to pull his boys from the fire, suffering burns himself.

It’s been almost three years since KHOU 11 first met with the Smith family.

Messiah and Bentley are now five and four and look much different than we first saw them at Shriner’s Hospital in Galveston.

Their painful surgeries and their recovery is far from finished.

Their mother says they’ll still be getting skin grafts for almost the next 20 years.

As the boys are getting older they’re starting to ask questions.

“That was my biggest fear just know that that day would come,” said Reginald Smith.

Other kids have asked why they look different.

“He’s had kids come up to him ask him what’s wrong with your hands, what happened, he had a kid tell him he looks weird,” said Jasmin Smith.

“I’m thankful that I have scars too so I can show them that hey, we’re all in the same boat,” Reginald Smith said. “People may look at us, but just look at me and you see I’m going through the same thing so don’t let that discourage you.”

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Although they say their boys don’t remember that night, Jasmin and Reginald do like it happened yesterday.

“Around this time I always see it, over and over and over,” Jasmin Smith said. “I spend a lot of nights to myself in the shower, getting it out.”

The suspect, Bayron Rivera, was released on bond months after the incident.

But while out on bond, court records show he was re-arrested, for allegedly shooting and killing a man in his driveway.

Rivera is still awaiting trial.

With the help of family, friends and strangers — the Smiths have managed to grow closer to each other these past three years.

And as the boys continue to grow up, the Smiths say they will overcome whatever obstacles come their way.

They’ve already survived the worst.

“We don’t want them singled out, we don’t ever want them to feel different, because they’re not,” Jasmin Smith said. “Even though you look different on the outside we’re all the same on the inside.”

The family has created a GoFundMe account to help with the boys' ongoing surgeries and related expenses.

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