Authorities say four firefighters were killed while trying to battle a fire that engulfed a Houston motel.

Burned out Southwest Inn in Houston following fire that killed 4 firefighters (KTRK TV)

The Houston mayor's office released a statement saying the four firefighters died Friday after battling a blaze at the Southwest Inn. The local medical examiner's office says three victims died at the scene, while the fourth died at a hospital.

Five others were injured and are hospitalized for chest pains or leg injuries.

The blaze broke out just after noon Friday at a restaurant and club at the motel on U.S. 59, one of Houston's most heavily traveled expressways.

Flames spread to the motel and were shooting from the roof, blanketing the area in thick smoke, before firefighters extinguished the blaze about two hours later.

The fire's cause hasn't been released.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)