Polish authorities shuttered 13 escape room attractions across the country after a fire at one of the venues in the northwestern city of Koszalin broke out last week, trapping and killing five teenage girls.
The teenagers, identified by officials as Julia, Karolina, Amelia, Wiktoria and Malgorzata, all 15 years old, had gone to the two-story site to celebrate a birthday. However, things took a turn for the worse on Friday at roughly 5 p.m. local time after a fire broke out. The cause was later determined to be a leak in a gas cylinder.
The sole survivor of the blaze, a 25-year-old employee who was the “gamemaster,” explained to investigators that he was in another part of the building when he initially smelled gas, and when he attempted to turn off the tank, flames quickly erupted.
“He realized after a moment of terror that he would not be able to get to the door to unlock the exit in the room where the girls were playing,” Ryszard Gasiorowski, spokesperson for the Koszalin district prosecutor, told reporters. “The fire had already cut him off.”
Autopsies later showed that all five girls died of carbon monoxide inhalation. The gamemaster was hospitalized for first and second degree burns.
Four days after the fire, a preliminary investigation revealed that officials found more than 1,100 violations at the building, most of which were related to the venue’s emergency plans and lack of an evacuation route. According to the…