UPDATE: Student killed by falling branch identified

flowers left on tree
Benjamin Mullin
A few bouquets lie against a tree near Butte and Lassen Halls, where Pa Houa Lor, a freshman health science major, was killed by a falling tree limb Tuesday afternoon.

The student killed by a falling tree branch between Lassen Hall and Butte Hall was identified by campus officials this morning.

Pa Houa Lor, a sophomore health science major, was struck on the head by a red oak tree limb that fell about 20 feet at 3:10 p.m. Tuesday, said Joe Wills, a spokesperson for Chico State.

The woman was unconscious when emergency personnel arrived on the scene and began performing CPR, Wills said.

As the ambulance left the school for Enloe Medical Center at 3:30 p.m., medics were still trying to revive Lor.

An arborist inspected the tree, which is between 50 and 80 years old, shortly after the incident, Wills said. The examination did not yield any clues as to what caused the branch to fall.

The area was initially cordoned off until earlier today, when an arborist determined that the tree does not need to be cut down and no branches need to be removed.

The school brought in a tree expert over the summer to conduct an inspection, which the university passed, Wills said. The inspections are contracted to a company outside the university.

The branch was about 14 inches in diameter and struck Lor as she was sitting on a bench, said Division Chief Bill Hack of the Chico Fire Department.

Lauryn De La Torre, a sophomore sociology and criminal justice major, witnessed the incident yesterday afternoon. She said Lor was sitting underneath a tree with earphones in when the branch fell.

Another bystander called 9-1-1 shortly after the accident, De la Torre said. The woman appeared to be unresponsive while paramedics tried to resuscitate her.

Houa, one of several children from a family of eight, was living at home while she attended Chico State. In a campus-wide email sent out to the university this afternoon, Houa’s Education Opportunity Program coordinator described her as positive person who was respectful and shy. She was studying to become a nurse.

The university flag will be lowered today in Houa’s memory. Support is available at the Counseling and Wellness Center for students who were affected by the incident.

Lindsay Pincus contributed to this article.

The Orion can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.