Escape Room attraction opens in Charleroi

Scott Beveridge
Observer Reporter

The game begins when a group of friends or coworkers find themselves restrained in a small room in search of clues that will set them free during a bank robbery that appears to be botched from the beginning.

From there they move from station to station at 5th Street Escape Room in Charleroi, where different codes need to be broken in order for them to reach and open a bank vault to successfully complete the adventure.

“The winners get their picture taken in front of the vault,” said Jason Atkins of Belle Vernon, who owns the business at 434 Fallowfield Ave. with his wife, Lauren.

Atkins was inspired to design the game after competing in a room elsewhere with his brother-in-law and breaking its escape record.

“I thought this would be an excellent thing to put in the Valley,” he said.

Atkins said the only things for kids to do when he grew up in the region were to visit a bowling alley or a chain restaurant.

The feature that makes Charleroi’s escape room unique is the bank vault with its 9,000-pound door.

The building was a PNC branch before it closed two decades ago.

Atkins said he needed to hire a locksmith to reset the combination because the original one was lost through the years as the building changed hands. The vault was built with 96 million combination options, he said.

“That door wasn’t closed for 20 years,” he said.

Business has been better than expected, Atkins said, since the room opened Dec. 10.

Only one team has cracked all of the codes without clues. The adventure has a 35 percent success rate when players are given clues, he said.

The interactive game also use riddles, locks and puzzles over a 60-minute time frame, and it’s also marketed for corporate team-building events.

Atkins said he will watch how the game trends and likely change the challenges every nine months to keep it fresh.

He said another room will open in March on the second floor, where players will find themselves in a mock hostage crisis.

Contestants pick their own groups of as many as six people, and they book their adventure online. The base cost is $25 per person, but discounts and special rates can apply.

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