The University of Oklahoma is reviewing how safe its fire escapes are after a university senior fell from one and died upon impact, according to police.
Casey Cooke, 22, was discovered lifeless on the Norman campus on June 3. The chief medical examiner determined that Cook's three-story fall from a fire escape attached to the Evans Hall caused her death.
Thanks to renovations to the building in 1999 that included the installation of sprinkler systems and fire alarms, authorities determined that internal staircases could be used in the event of a fire evacuation and removed the fire escape.
Brian Ellis, OU’s director of facilities management, told the AP the university is reviewing fire escapes on two other campus buildings.
A plaque now hangs on the wall of Evans Hall, the main administrative building on campus, reading “Unauthorized use of the fire escape will result in a $750 fine.”
Cooke was reportedly climbing the fire escape stairs to the roof when she slipped and fell to her death. The university police department says it was an isolated incident and has no record of trespassing on the roof of Evans Hall prior to Cooke’s death.
Cooke was pursuing a major in zoology and Spanish in the College of Arts and Sciences at OU. She planned to take medical school entrance exams.
"Casey was a very motivated child," Cooke’s family said in a statement released June 4. "Her academic excellence and pursuit of a medical school admission are a testament to her drive, intelligence and positive attitude about life."
Cooke’s Pi Beta Phi sorority sisters also responded to her death, saying in an email, "She was there for anyone in an instant and always had the nicest and most positive things to say about people."
Recent media reports indicated OU greek organizations would climb campus roofs as rites of passage. Ellis told the Norman Transcript he had not previously heard of the tradition.
"That was all news to me when it came out in the press this week," he said. "Whether that was the case or not, I don’t know. I simply took steps to remove the path of access to the roof of Evans Hall. We are going to be watching very closely any further trespass onto the roof of any of our campus buildings."