Man charged over escape room fire deaths in Poland

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A fire has broken out at an escape room in northwest Poland, killing five teenage girls who were playing the physical adventure game, local officials say.

A man was also seriously injured in the blaze and was transported to an intensive care unit with severe burns, fire officials reportedly told the AFP.

Escape rooms are entertainment venues in which participants are given a set amount of time to solve a series of puzzles in order to get out of a locked space.

While most of these escape rooms have an evacuation route or escape room employees watching the players from outside the room with a camera, it seems that this was not the case during this incident in Poland.

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

Asphyxiation is the probable cause of the deaths, officials said.

Four of the five young victims were last night named in local news reports social media as Karolina Barabas, Wiktoria Julia Pietras, Gosia Tymieniecka and Amelia Wieczorek.

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The girls had gathered for a birthday celebration in Koszalin, in northern Poland, on Friday when a blaze erupted at the house. Regarded as an intellectual challenge, the games have become increasingly popular among Polish teenagers in the past five years.

"A devastating tragedy in Koszalin", Interior Minister Joachim Brudziński said on Twitter.

Kosiec said the bodies were found after firefighters put out a fire that broke out around 5pm at the location.

Koszalin Mayor Piotr Jedlinski announced that Sunday would a day of mourning in the city.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has sent condolences to the victims' relatives.

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

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