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Homewood doctor’s delicate touch draws out-of-state patients

Six days after fire swept through a house on Hagen Lane in Flossmoor, the woman who was rescued from the blaze has died.

Josephine R. Tropp was pronounced dead at 8:30 a.m. Friday at Franciscan St. James Hospital in Chicago Heights, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office said. An autopsy by the office was planned for Saturday. Pending an autopsy, the cause of death is not known. Flossmoor Deputy Fire Chief Tod Kamleiter said Friday it is likely to be related to smoke inhalation.

Mrs. Tropp, who was 90, lived with her two daughters at their house on the 2000 block of Hagen. One of those daughters, Denise M. Tropp, has been charged with aggravated arson and attempted murder. According to Flossmoor police, she allegedly set the house on fire following a dispute with her mother over cigarettes and a cell phone.

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Kamleiter said police will be meeting with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office to determine whether the original charges against Denise Tropp should be modified. She is being held in the medical unit of the Cook County Jail, he said. Police said earlier this week that she admitted lighting the fire.

The fire was reported at 7:50 p.m. on Nov. 7. Three members of a search-and-rescue team rescued Josephine Tropp from a hallway and transferred her through a window to firefighters outside the house so that she could be taken by ambulance to the hospital. Firefighters were unable to take her out through the front entrance because of the intensity of the blaze in the living room.

The fire touched off an explosion, possibly of an oxygen tank that was inside the house. Kamleiter said the explosion took place just as the firefighters were entering the house.

Kamleiter said Denise Tropp admitted using her cigarette lighter to ignite papers in the house and also an afghan.

The second Tropp daughter was not at home when the fire occurred, Kamleiter said.

It took about an hour to get the fire under control. Six fire departments and a total of 28 firefighters took part in efforts to control the blaze. Besides Flossmoor, fire departments from Homewood, Hazel Crest, Chicago Heights, Glenwood and Thornton were on the scene. An engine from Tinley Park and an ambulance from Steger also assisted at Flossmoor’s fire station.

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