NORMAN — University of Oklahoma officials are reviewing the university's fire escapes after a student fell to her death.
OU spokeswoman Catherine Bishop said Tuesday the university would be working with the Norman Fire Department to analyze external fire escapes on buildings across campus.
Casey Cooke, 22, of Edmond, was found unresponsive early Sunday near a fire escape east of Evans Hall. OU police responded to the call at 2:21 a.m. Sunday. Emergency medical personnel administered CPR but were unable to revive her.
Cooke's uncle, Don Cooke, said she and her Pi Beta Phi sorority sisters climbed onto the fire escape frequently. They used the spot as a quiet place for reflection, he said.
“She'd been up there many times before,” he said.
Amy Elliott, a spokeswoman for the state medical examiner, said Cooke died of blunt force trauma, presumably caused by the fall. Cooke's death was ruled accidental.
The fire escape on the eastern side of Evans Hall reaches up to a window on the building's third floor. A row of trees below the fire escape would have allowed Cooke to climb up to the lowest level of the fire escape.
A fire escape on the west side of the building climbs to the building's roof. A plaque on the wall below the ladder warns of a $750 fine for unauthorized use of the escape.
Bishop said university officials don't think Cooke's fall was the result of a faulty fire escape. Although OU's buildings comply with fire codes, Bishop said the age of many of the buildings on campus, including Evans Hall, makes fire safety measures a challenge to implement. Evans Hall was built in 1912.
Cooke earned a bachelor's degree in zoology and was pursuing a second bachelor's degree in Spanish while studying for the Medical College Entrance Exam. She planned to attend medical school at the OU Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City.
Cooke attended OU in the spring semester and was enrolled for the upcoming fall semester, but wasn't enrolled in summer courses, Bishop said. She said OU officials were conducting the review “out of an abundance of caution.”
Visitation is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Smith and Kernke Funeral Home, 14624 N May Ave., Oklahoma City. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, 2717 W Hefner Road, Oklahoma City.