The Latest: Man hears charges in Poland escape room deaths
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The Latest on the Poland escape room deaths (all times local):
Prosecutors in Poland have presented charges against the man who designed an escape room entertainment site where five teenage girls were killed in a fire.
Prosecutor Ryszard Gasiorowski said Sunday the man, identified only as Milosz S., had been charged with intentionally creating a fire danger and with unintentionally causing the deaths of the girls. The location’s heating system was faulty and there was no emergency evacuation route, Gasiorowski said.
Firefighters in the city of Koszalin found the victims’ bodies Friday after they extinguished a fire next to the locked room. Autopsies showed that the girls, who were friends from school, died of carbon monoxide inhalation. A young man employed there was hospitalized with burns.
The man denies the charges. If convicted, he could face up to eight years in prison.
Officials in Poland have shut down 13 escape room entertainment sites for safety flaws and the prime minister asked people Sunday to report such lapses to firefighters and police after five teenage girls were killed in a fire.
Players in escape room games are locked inside a room or building and must solve puzzles and find clues that lead them to the key that will unlock the door. Regarded as an intellectual challenge, the games are highly popular among teenagers in Poland.
Earlier Sunday, fire chief Leszek Suski said the escape room at a private house in the city of Koszalin, where the 15-year-old girls died Friday locked inside a room celebrating a birthday, had no emergency evacuation route. They were the first known deaths in an escape room, a form of entertainment that has been growing in Poland over the past five years.
Prosecutors say a leaky gas container inside a heater is the most likely cause of the blaze.
Police chief Jaroslaw Szymczyk said other people had previously posted critical remarks online about the safety of that escape room site, but local officials weren’t notified.