A fire yesterday afternoon killed five girls, all aged fifteen, at an escape room the group was visiting to celebrate a birthday in Koszalin, North Poland. Following the fire, which also seriously injured a man, authorities are performing checks on all the nation’s escape rooms.
Escape rooms see participants locked into a space and given clues and a time limit to figure out how to free themselves. The enterprises have grown in popularity in recent years with reportedly over 1,000 in Poland which are especially patronised by teens.
President Andrzej Duda said the victims were “joyful girls starting out in life [who] have had life torn away from them” in an “appalling tragedy” while Interior Minister Joachim Brudziński wrote he had ordered fire safety checks on escape rooms across Poland by the State Fire Brigade. He tweeted, “I want to express my sympathy and regrets to the families of the victims of the fire”.
Duda also characterised the deaths as “crushing” and wrote “May God protect their parents and loved ones.” Tomasz Kubiak, a fire service spokesman, told Agence France-Presse the male victim is in intensive care with “severe burns”. Police press officer Monika Kosiec stated police believe him to be aged 25. Kosiec revealed police have been unable to question him.
State press agency PAP has reported being told off the record all five deaths were caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. In addition to the inspections Brudzinski also ordered the installation of safety improvements at the facilities. Mayor of Koszalin Piotr Jedlinski has declared tomorrow a day of mourning.