JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Six children and two adults were killed in a fire in an orphanage in South Africa on Thursday, rescue officials said.

Emergency service officials said the fire broke out at the Lakehaven Children's Home in the coastal city of Durban, killing six children aged between eight and 10, a 19-year-old and an older adult.

Four people were hospitalized with serious or lesser injuries while 10 others escaped unharmed.

"Paramedics received a call just after 2 o'clock this morning to respond to the scene and formed part of the emergency services team that included fire fighters as well as the police," said KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Medical Services' spokesman Robert McKenzie.

Although fires in South African townships, where some people live in tin shacks, are common in winter when residents use paraffin heaters and stoves to keep warm and cook, they are unusual in public buildings.

McKenzie said the cause of the fire, which was put out this morning, is not known and police were investigating.

(Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; editing by Ralph Boulton)