French officials say eight people died in an apartment fire early Wednesday in Paris and police are investigating whether the fire was started intentionally.

Speaking on French TV BFM, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said the dead included two children. Four survivors are hospitalized.

Brandet said the firefighters extinguished a small paper fire around 0023 GMT in the building, located at the foot of Paris' famed Montmartre hill. They were called back two hours later for a new fire that began in a ground floor stairwell and quickly engulfed the building's upper stories.

More than 100 firefighters were required to extinguish the blaze.