Escape room fire kills five teenagers in Poland

Police secure a scene of a fire in Koszalin, Poland, 4 January 2019Image copyright EPA
Image caption Participants are locked in a room and must solve a series of puzzles against the clock in order to escape

Five teenage girls have died after a fire broke out while they were playing an escape game in northern Poland.

A 25-year-old man was seriously injured in the blaze which started at around 17:00 local time (16:00 GMT) in the city of Koszalin on Friday.

The cause of the fire is not yet known, but officials are carrying out safety checks on every escape room in Poland.

The five girls who died, all 15, were celebrating a friend’s birthday when they visited the attraction.

Escape rooms, in which participants are locked in a room and must solve a series of puzzles in order to get out, are popular around the world.

The industry has grown rapidly in recent years. In the UK, the number of escape rooms has soared from just seven in 2013 to more than 1,000 as of last year.

Polish President Andrzej Duda said the fire was an “appalling tragedy”.

“Five joyful girls starting out in life have had life torn away from them,” he wrote on Twitter. “May God protect their parents and loved ones.”

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Fire crews were called to the scene at around 17:00 local time on Friday

Interior Minister Joachim Brudziński also shared his condolences.

“I want to express my sympathy and regrets to the families of the victims of the fire,” he said in a tweet.

“I’ve instructed the chief commander of the State Fire Brigade to carry out fire checks on all places of this type across the country,” he added.

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