Five teenage girls were killed by fire during an escape room game on Friday afternoon in the Polish city of Koszalin. The girls had gathered to attend a friend’s birthday party. According to Poland’s Interior Minister, Joachim Brudzinski, the girls were 15-years-old.
Per a report by BuzzFeed News, a man, aged 25, survived the fire and is currently hospitalized with burns. Police officials are still investigating the incident and it is still unknown as to what caused the fire.
Monika Kosiec, police spokeswoman for Koszalin, said that the bodies of the girls were recovered at around 5 p.m. after firefighters extinguished the blaze, the report said, quoting AFP.
In an escape room game, players are locked up in a room and they have to look for cues in the form of solving puzzles, riddles, and hints to find a way out of the room. Following the tragedy, Minister Brudzinski has ordered strict fire-security controls throughout the city and has declared Sunday, January 6, a day of mourning, CNN’s affiliate, TVN24 reported.
Poland’s President Andrzej Duda took to his Twitter and expressed sympathies with the victims’ families, saying that the tragedy in Koszalin is devastating and added the following.
“May the Lord take care of the parents and loved ones. RIP.”
As the news went viral, an aura of shock and sadness overtook Polish social media, and everyone expressed their condolences. Many people also blamed gaming enthusiasts for not coming up with safety measures as it’s a physical game.
Five women have died during a fire at an escape room (an adventure game in which players are trapped in a room and must solve puzzles to get out).
Early information indicates the victims were there as part of a birthday party https://t.co/bWNKyf0u5D
— Notes from Poland ???????? (@notesfrompoland) January 4, 2019
“The escape rooms should have emergency exits in multiple locations,” one person suggested on Twitter. While another user wrote about his own experience with the game and said that every escape room he has ever visited “only allows up to seven people and the room that you’re ‘escaping’ is always unlocked.”
“Does anyone know if the girls were actually locked in?” he questioned. “According to what I’ve heard, escape room locations aren’t actually allowed to lock the doors.”
Another Twitter user said that they always thought escape rooms would have better safety measures, and said that the tragic incident has left them absolutely horrified, while another added that games like escape room should have some sort of an emergency code. She also blamed the founder of the game.
“This tragedy could [have] been avoided. Some guy literally made the escape room game in his f***ing garage and got away with it. What about safety checks????
watched the video on yt where some1 live streamed the whole tragedy & the fireman would not tell the parents of the victims what happened but he was happy to talk to the camera about it? those parents had to find out about the death of their children from social media
— Yulia (^_^) (@JuliaBandosz) January 5, 2019
Upon learning that the tragedy took place on someone’s birthday, many Twitter users expressed their shock and horror and prayed for the deceased to rest in peace.
“Can you imagine dying on your birthday? I’ve always had that thought in mind and it actually happened to someone,” one person commented. “Dying on the day of your birth. Real sad though.”