Firefighters suspect a lightning strike or static discharge caused a 40,000-gallon tank of ethanol to explode and catch fire at the Eco-Energy tank farm off Mount Holly Road and Freedom Drive in northwest Charlotte.
The explosion occurred just after 4 p.m. Saturday. More than 70 firefighters responded to the scene to combat flames that were shooting 20 to 30 feet into the air, Capt. Mark Basnight said.
No one was injured in the explosion and firefighters had the fire under control in an hour and a half.
The fire shut down Freedom Drive in both directions near the tank farm, causing miles of backups on roads that were already treacherous from snow.