An 18-year-old attending a party at a Western Michigan University fraternity house fell from a second-story balcony early Wednesday and fractured her skull, police said.
The unidentified woman from Portland, Mich., was taken to Bronson Methodist Hospital, where she was listed in critical condition.
Kalamazoo police and housing officials were investigating whether code violations may have contributed to the fall.
They believe the teenager may have fallen through gaps between the balusters, the supports that hold up the balcony’s rail, said Brian Uridge, assistant chief of the Kalamazoo public safety department.
“Clearly based on the investigation, when officers were on scene there were not the appropriate number of balusters on the (balcony),” Uridge told the Kalamazoo Gazette. “There’s several spots on the balcony. … It appears (the balusters) may have been used for firewood.”
Police found the woman about 12:50 a.m. Wednesday at the Sigma Pi fraternity house as they were trying to clear up a number of parties in the area.
Many Western Michigan students began moving back this week. Classes start on Tuesday.
The woman is believed to have fallen from the balcony as the officers were walking up to the fraternity house. Witnesses told police she fell from the balcony and struck the back of her head on the pavement.
The woman is not a Western Michigan student, Uridge said.
He said the balcony is about 9 to 10 feet above the ground and no more than 3 to 4 feet wide. He said he didn’t know how many people were on the balcony at the time the woman fell, but more than 200 people were at the party.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)