Four people were killed and three others are feared dead after a fire broke out early Sunday at an apartment in Kobe, local authorities said.

Firefighters received a call around 1:35 a.m. from a neighbor of the three-story housing complex in the city's Hyogo Ward saying that black smoke was coming out of a window on the first floor.

Four men between the ages of 77 and 86, who all lived on the first floor of the complex, were confirmed dead at the scene, according to police and firefighters. Of the other four men taken to hospital, three of them in their 60s and 70s remain unconscious while a man in his 40s was severely injured, the police said.