'This is an act of nonsense:' Fireworks lead to small business fire, $250K in damages

It's been a rough several days for a Northern Virginia small business owner after his car repair shop was destroyed by a fire that officials say was started by fireworks. 

A devastating fire destroyed the business that has occupied that building there for the past five years, including a company started by a man who emigrated to the U.S. from Serbia 16 years ago. He's been told it was teenagers playing with fireworks that are to blame for what happened.

Wheel Repair Pro on Shirlington Road in Arlington suffered $250,000 worth of damage, according to the county fire marshal's office, which says fireworks are to blame for this mess. 

"Good thing I didn't have any cars inside, no customers' cars. That's the good part, but all my machinery, my tools, everything is high end because my, so everything is gone, everything is destroyed really," said owner Milan Cukalovic. 

Cukalovic showed FOX 5 DC a surveillance video captured by cameras attached to his building. 

When asked if he thought it was deliberate or an accident, Cukalovic said, "It's hard to tell. Because these days, even as the firefighters were here trying to put the fire down we could see fireworks shooting around."

Cukalovic met with a deputy Arlington County fire marshal and his insurance adjuster Tuesday. 

Customer Keith Bridgett said he couldn't believe his eyes. Those were his 22-inch rims inside the shop.

"Oh, I'm devastated man. I'm a customer and a friend of this gentleman here. I just happened to be coming down the street and I seen this. Just checking on my rims and I seen this. Whatever was going on, it just hurts my heart because this is an act of nonsense," Bridgett said.

The fire marshal says in Arlington County, anything that bangs, pops, or goes higher than 12 feet in the air is illegal. That means bottle rockets and Roman candles. He says the fireworks that caused this were indeed illegal.

"We need to rebuild everything, start from scratch if we need. But that's my goal," said Cukalovic. 

Again, the Arlington County fire marshal's office says charges may be forthcoming if they determine this was a deliberate act as opposed to an accident, and they can identify the people lighting the fireworks here last Friday night.