A fire which extensively damaged two homes in Lehighton on Tuesday has been ruled "accidental."

Assistant Fire Chief Pat Mriss said he and a state police fire marshal conducted the investigation and made the ruling.

The fire happened at a twin home on Ochre Street at the intersection of Fourth Street.

It reportedly started at the rear of the home.

Also sustaining damage was a vacant house about 75 feet away from the burning building. The vacant house had all the aluminum siding on the side of the dwelling melt.

Left homeless were Sharon Ace, who lived in one side of the building, and Derrick Flexer and his family his wife, Bobbie Jo, and their daughter Peyton.

The Flexer family had no insurance and lost virtually all their possessions in the fire.

They belong to St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mahoning Township which has begun a fund drive.

Donations can be mailed to the Flexer Fire Fund in care of Wendy Gill-Guzenski at the church, or dropped off at any branch of Wells Fargo Bank. If dropped off at the bank, mention Wendy Guzenski and that it is in care of the Flexer Fire Fund, account ending in 6725.

One report said that scammers have been reported capitalizing on the fire.

Also at the church, a drop-off will occur on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for clothing, household items, etc.