Fire broke out in a fraternity house early Friday, killing one student and leaving three others in critical conditions, officials said.

The blaze started around 4 a.m. in a second-story room at the Phi Kappa Tau house at Nebraska Wesleyan University, said Lincoln Fire Chief Dan Wright. At least 39 people were inside at the time.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

University spokeswoman Sara Olson confirmed that one student died but did not release the victim's name or any details about the others injured.

"We are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of one of our students," the university said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are also with three other students who are currently being treated at a local hospital."

Friday morning, crying students hugged each other outside the red brick house, where black burn marks spread up from a second-floor window. The house did not have a sprinkler system, Wright said.

Nebraska Wesleyan, a Methodist Church-affiliated liberal arts college, has about 1,800 students.