Wednesday 26 June 2019

Poland closes at least 13 'escape rooms' over safety issues after fire kills five teenage girls

A fire engine stands outside an Escape Room game location in Koszalin (TVN News/AP)
A fire engine stands outside an Escape Room game location in Koszalin (TVN News/AP)

Monika Scislowska

Polish officials have shut down 13 escape room sites over safety issues after five teenage girls were killed in a fire.

Firefighter chief Leszek Suski said the escape room at a private house in the city of Koszalin, where the girls died on Friday locked inside a room celebrating a birthday, had no emergency evacuation route.

Firefighters found the bodies of the 15-year-old victims after they extinguished a fire next to the locked room. Post-mortem examinations showed they died of carbon monoxide inhalation.

Police chief Jaroslaw Szymczyk said other people had previously posted critical remarks online about the safety of that escape room site, but local officials were not notified.

The 28-year-old who runs the site has been detained and will be questioned, Mr Szymczyk said. His employee, who suffered burns in the fire, is also going to be questioned.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki spoke after holding a meeting in which officials discussed ways of improving safety at entertainment venues.

He called the deaths of the 15-year-olds an "immense tragedy".

Since Friday, more than 200 of Poland's some 1,100 escape rooms have been checked, revealing a number of safety flaws that needed to be immediately fixed.

Players in escape room games are locked inside a room or building and must solve puzzles and find clues that lead them to the key that will unlock the door.

Regarded as an intellectual challenge, the games are highly popular among teenagers in Poland.

Press Association

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