A Flossmoor woman has been charged with aggravated arson and attempted first degree murder following Saturday’s fire at her home in the 2000 block of Hagen Lane.
Denise M. Tropp. 64, of the Hagen address, was charged after admitting to police that she started the fire following an argument with her elderly mother over cigarettes and her cell phone, according to a Flossmoor police report. She was transferred to the Cook County Sheriff’s Department on Monday and was scheduled to have a bond hearing later in the afternoon.
Tropp’s 90-year-old mother was rescued from the burning house by firefighters. She was taken to Franciscan St. James Hospital in Olympia Fields. The fire touched off an explosion, possibly of an oxygen tank that was inside the house. Deputy Chief Tod Kamleiter said the explosion took place just as the firefighters were entering the house.
Kamleiter said Tropp admitted using her cigarette lighter to ignite papers in the house and also an afghan.
After the fire was reported, at about 7:50 p.m. Saturday, a Flossmoor police officer found Tropp on the driveway of the house talking to a neighbor. The officer said flames were already coming out through a living room window, according to the police report.
The officer said in the report that he knew that a woman, who was mostly incapacitated, lived in the house with her two daughters. He asked Tropp about her mother’s whereabouts. At first, she said her mother was not at home, the report said. The officer asked again and Tropp said her mother was still inside.
Tropp started talking about how her mother had taken away her cigarettes and cell phone. At that point, the officer asked her if she had started the fire. She responded, “Yes,” according to the police report. At that point, the officer put handcuffs on Tropp and transported her to the Flossmoor police station.
The second Tropp daughter was not at home when the fire occurred, Kamleiter said.
At the Flossmoor police station, Tropp was interviewed by local investigators and officials from the state fire marshal’s office and the area MABAS fire consortium. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office approved the charges against Tropp, Kamleiter said.