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‘I’m burning!’ Texas parents recall drive-by firework shooting that injured toddlers

An inadvertent lane switch that was perceived as a slight to another driver altered the lives of Reginald Smith and his family.

This Fourth of July, Smith and his family were headed home after buying fireworks to celebrate the occasion, as previously reported by McClatchy news group. An altercation ensued on the road between he and another driver, extending the debacle to a local gas station in Harris County in Houston, media outlets reported.

The other driver fired a gunshot into Smith’s vehicle, igniting the firecrackers and causing the vehicle to be set ablaze, as previously reported by McClatchy news group.

Smith’s children, 2-year-old Messiah and 1-year-old Bentley, were inside, he told Click2Houston. The children were burned head to toe, but survived. Smith said he’s grateful for their lives to had been spared.

“Grateful. I mean, God is a merciful God, and I’m so thankful that (my sons) are alive,” Smith told Click 2 Houston.

In an interview with KIIITV, Smith recalled the difficulty he faced in trying to rescue his children while driving in a vehicle clouded with smoke.

“I’m just in this clouded cab with the fireworks going off boom, boom, boom,” he told the TV station “I told him, ‘Ok, just hold on. I’m going to get you out. I’m going to get you out.’”

While Messiah was rescued from the vehicle fairly easily, Smith told Click 2 Houston, Bentley, however, was not.

Smith says he remembers a “voice” telling him to “’pull his arms,’” the outlet reported, allowing him to free the young child.

The children are facing multiple surgeries still and are recovering at Shriners Burn Hospital, according to KIIITV.

The family has set up a GoFundMe link to assist with medical expenses.

“The boys have come a very long way, dad is doing better, and mom is ok,” read an update on September 3 on the GoFundMe Page. “Both the boys are in the process of learning how to walk and use their fingers again. Dad had another surgery two weeks ago and our youngest may have to have one more.

“This recovery has been a slow painful but blessed recovery,” the post continues. “Our spirits are high but we also have some bad days. God has been through it with us all. We are blessed that everyone is alive and grateful that he decided to keep us.”

Tyler Carter, a Real-Time reporter based out of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, is an avid lover of media, fitness, sports and telling impactful stories. Previously, he served as a trending/breaking news/crime reporter for AL.com and The Mississippi Press.
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