Hyderabad: A nine-year-old girl student died of asphyxiation and burn injuries in a fire at a state-run girls hostel in Khammam, following a short circuit, police said Monday.

Two more girls were hospitalised with breathing problems after thick smoke engulfed the hall at the hostel at around 11 PM last night, where 20 girls were sleeping, they said.

All the girls were rescued except for the nine-year-old, a fourth standard student, who died on the spot.

An hostel welfare officer and a watchwoman have been suspended in connection with the incident.

Police suspect that the short circuit was caused due to rain, following which a tube light burst and sparks fell on a bed, resulting in flames and thick smoke engulfing the hall.

A fire engine was pressed into service and the flames were doused, he said.

Expressing grief over the death, state welfare minister Koppula Eshwar asked the director of SC welfare to conduct a thorough probe into the accident and submit a report.

The minister spoke to the Khammam district collector and SC welfare department officials and directed them to take appropriate steps, an official release said.

With the minister ordering action against those who were allegedly negligent in discharging their duties, the collector has suspended a hostel welfare officer and watchwoman.

A show cause notice has been served on another official.

The minister told the officials to shift the girl students in the hostel to another one nearby,the release said.

He also directed officials to take appropriate safety measures in hostels across the state.

Following the minister's directive to the collector to extend help to the bereaved family, an ex-gratia of Rs two lakh and another Rs 20,000 towards funeral expenses have been handed over to the deceased girl's parents, it said.

The collector has assured them that a job on outsourcing basis would be provided to one of the parents, it added. (PTI)

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