5 Jan 2019

Escape room fire kills five teenage girls

2:38 pm on 5 January 2019

A fire at an escape room game has left five 15-year-old girls dead in northern Poland.

A picture shows the time left to leave the room during an "escape game" session in Paris, on May 24, 2018. Participants of these games are expected to look for clues and then combine them in order to solve enigmas in a limited time.

Photo: AFP / Geoffroy van der Hasselt

A 25-year-old man was seriously injured in the blaze which started about 5pm local time in the city of Koszalin on Friday.

The five girls who died, all 15, were celebrating a friend's birthday when they visited the attraction.

Escape rooms, in which participants are locked in a room and must solve a series of puzzles in order to get out, are popular around the world.

The industry has grown rapidly in recent years. In the UK, the number of escape rooms has soared from just seven in 2013 to more than 1000 as of last year.

The cause of the fire is not yet known, but officials have begun safety checks on every escape room in Poland.

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

"Five joyful girls starting out in life have had life torn away from them," he wrote on Twitter. "May God protect their parents and loved ones."

Interior Minister Joachim Brudziński also shared his condolences.

"I want to express my sympathy and regrets to the families of the victims of the fire," he said in a tweet.

"I've instructed the chief commander of the State Fire Brigade to carry out fire checks on all places of this type across the country," he added.