Fire swept through a house on the city's west end early Tuesday, killing six children, ages 9 to 14, authorities said.

Fire Col. Jesse Spratt said the children were cousins who were members of three families.He said the children were two 9-year-olds, three 10-year-olds and a 14-year-old. Three of the victims were girls; the others were boys. Names were withheld until all relatives were notified.

Spratt said the fire appeared to have started in a front room of the one-story frame house but the cause was undetermined.

He said the fire was brought under control at 4:04 a.m.

All the victims apparently were asleep when the flames erupted.