Discuss as:

Four children killed in upstate NY house fire

Kris J. Murante / AP

Rochester firefighters work at the scene of a fatal fire at a home early Saturday.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Four children died and four others were hospitalized Saturday after a fire raged through a two-story house on the city's west side.

Firefighters responding to an early-morning call of a rubbish fire found what appeared to be some clothing burning in front of the wood-framed house, which contains side-by-side apartments, Rochester Fire Chief John Caufield told reporters.

They put out that blaze, knocked on the door, walked around the house and saw another fire inside “that appeared to have occurred while we were here,” Caufield said.

Crews pulled a woman and infant from a first-floor apartment before the blaze quickly spread to the second floor, Caufield said.

Four children who appeared to be in their early teens or younger were later found dead on the second floor, WHEC-TV reported.

Four other people were taken by ambulance to a hospital, the Democrat and Chronicle reported.

The cause of the blaze was under investigation.

"The firefighters were actually enveloped in flames for a brief time," Caufield told the Democrat and Chronicle. "We withdrew them. There was just no possible way for them to make a search or any further entry in there without really sacrificing their own lives."

More content from msnbc.com and NBC News