Cause determined in 4-alarm Charlotte warehouse fire

Lightning is being blamed for a massive Thursday night warehouse fire southwest of uptown Charlotte, officials said Friday.

More than 80 firefighters were called to the four-alarm fire in the 2300 block of Toomey Avenue after cardboard was ignited by a lightning strike, the Charlotte Fire Department said.

The building, between South Tryon Street and Interstate 77 just north of Remount Road, housed old machinery used by Carolina Foods. There were large amounts of cardboard in the building, and officials said some of those materials were still smoking Friday morning.

Heavy flames and smoke were pouring from the building when firefighters arrived, and officials called in reinforcements. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police closed off at least two nearby streets.

Officials estimate damage at about $500,000.

Staff writer Cleve R. Wootson Jr. contributed.