Fire in Poland kills 5 girls locked in ‘es­cape room’

Chicago Sun-Times (Sunday) - - NATION/WORLD -

WARSAW, Poland — A faulty heating sys­tem ap­peared to have caused a fire at a house in north­ern Poland where five teenage girls died while locked in­side a recre­ational ‘‘es­cape room’’ that was in­stalled in the rented dwelling, in­ves­ti­ga­tors said Satur­day.

Fire­fight­ers in the city of Kosza­lin found the bod­ies of the 15-year-old vic­tims Fri­day af­ter they ex­tin­guished a fire in a room ad­ja­cent to the one the girls had en­tered while cel­e­brat­ing a birth­day.

Au­top­sies showed the girls died of car­bon monox­ide as­phyx­i­a­tion, pros­e­cu­tors said.

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.

Kosza­lin prose­cu­tor Ryszard Ga­siorowski said a leak in a bot­tled gas heating sys­tem was a prob­a­ble cause of the fire.

The fire broke out in a part of the de­tached house that was be­ing used as a re­cep­tion room for the en­ter­tain­ment venue and blocked an em­ployee’s way to the girls, he said.

Poland’s in­te­rior min­is­ter has or­dered fire safety inspections at more than 1,000 es­cape room lo­ca­tions across the coun­try. The first inspections were be­ing held Satur­day, the In­te­rior Min­istry said. Pre­vi­ously, there was no of­fi­cial re­quire­ment for fire safety cer­tifi­cates at such lo­ca­tions.

AP

In­ves­ti­ga­tors ex­am­ine the site of a fa­tal fire at an ‘‘es­cape room’’ in Kosza­lin, Poland.

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