WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Polish firefighters on Saturday blamed substandard electrical wiring and lax security procedures at an “Escape Room” for a fire that killed five teenage girls and injured a man.
The bodies of the 15-year-old victims were found Friday in Koszalin, in northern Poland, after firefighters extinguished a blaze in an adjacent room. Asphyxiation is the probable cause of the deaths.
A young man was hospitalized with burns. Initially described as a 25-year-old, the hospital said he was 26.
Poland’s firefighting chief, Leszek Suski, said Saturday that electrical wiring at the location was makeshift and too close to flammable materials, while the man in charge was probably not there when the fire broke out.
“Security was not ensured and that led to the tragedy,” Suski said.
He said there was no proper evacuation route and a “lot of negligence” at the location.
A spokesman for local firefighters, Tomasz Kubiak said the units responding to the blaze had to use specialized equipment and force their way into the “Escape Room.”
Poland’s interior minister has ordered fire safety inspections at more than 1,000 “Escape Room” locations across the country.
Highly popular among teenagers in Poland, the “Escape Room” game has players locked inside a room or building and they must find clues that help them get out.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has sent condolences to the victims’ relatives. Officials have extended psychological and other support to the families. The school which the teenagers attended was extending counselling and support to their friends and colleagues.
Local residents were placing flowers and lights in front of the location, a detached house.
The girls were celebrating one of their birthdays.