Lightning strikes apparently caused a major fire at a gas company in North Carolina early Sunday morning, fire officials said.

The blaze started at Colonial Pipeline Company in Greensboro after midnight, said David Douglas, an assistant fire chief in Greensboro.

A pipe with 20,000 gallons of gas was burning and two tanks with about 12,000 gallons of gas caught on fire, Douglas said.

Firefighters used foam to extinguish the flames on the tanks, Colonial Pipeline spokesman Steve Baker said.

The huge facility, known as the tank farm, is near Piedmont Triad International Airport, and the massive blaze sent plumes of smoke throughout the area.

The blaze caused the closure of a portion of Interstate 40, the North Carolina Department of Transportation said.

There had been no evacuations, Douglas said.

"This is the first time I've heard of [a lightning strike] happening in my 20 years," Baker said. "No one else can remember it. I'm just relieved that it's over and no one was hurt."