This happened in the next town over from me.
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Lightning struck one of the petroleum tanks at the Colonial Pipeline tank farm overnight, igniting a fire that closed portions of Interstate 40 and other local roads for several hours.
Julia Jarema, a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management, said the fire posed no danger to the public. The lightning strike occurred shortly after midnight, striking one of the gasoline storage tanks near Gallimore Dairy Rd. and I-40.
"Our crews arrived on the scene to find a bulk-storage tank fully engulfed from the top of the tank." said Assistant Fire Chief David Douglas with the Greensboro Fire Department.
150 firefighters from the Greensboro Fire Department and other local firefighters and state emergency management officials were able to put out the fire around 6:45 a.m. Four firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion at the scene, but no one was seriously injured and no evacuations were ordered.
Interstates 40, 73 and 840 were closed in the area, but all reopened around 8 a.m. The Gallimore Dairy Road exit on I-40 was still closed as of 2 p.m.
The tank, part of the Colonial Pipelines 72 tank farm, held at least 22,000 barrels of petroleum. Crews had to pump out gasoline through underground pipes and extinguished the fire with nearly 2,000 gallons of foam. About 4,500 barrels of petroleum was lost in the fire.
"We had the cooperation of the Guilford County Fire Department, High Point Fire, foam that was coming in from Charlotte and we also had additional foam supply from Spartanburg." Douglas said.
As a precaution water was placed on two nearby tanks to keep them cool as flames escaped from the burning tank. Colonial Pipeline expected to have the main pipeline operational again by the end of Sunday, and the company will be working with the Environmental Protection Agency Monday to begin the cleanup.
"We are very excited that we were able to mitigated this event as quickly as we did to keep environmental concerns to a minimum. We are very pleased we've been able to maintain it on site." Douglas said.