Rescue story in dispute

Jack Rothmyer (pictured) said he and Greg Kent each grabbed an arm of Tom Bahringer and pulled him out of his burning house on July 9. Kent disputes that, saying he and Paul Voell pulled Bahringer from the house, and that Rothmyer arrived on the scene later.

As the smoke clears on a dramatic rescue from a James Island home, a story of heroic rescue only gets hazier.

Three men arrived at Tom Bahringer's home at 1564 Clark Sound Circle on July 9, but they give conflicting stories of who actually helped the paraplegic man out of the blaze.

Jack Rothmyer, a chiropractor who lives two doors down, said he and off-duty Mount Pleasant Fire Lt. Greg Kent each grabbed one of Bahringer's arms and hauled him out of a window.

"Tom popped out of there like a cork out of a champagne bottle," Rothmyer said.

Kent, on the other hand, said he and another man, Paul Voell, lifted Bahringer from the burning house, and that Rothmyer arrived at the scene afterward.

"He was just standing back there," said Kent, a 17-year veteran of the Mount Pleasant Fire Department.

"Paul and I were the ones who bear-hugged him and pulled him out." He said he remembers Rothmyer helping pull Bahringer away from the building, once he was out.

Voell, who works in sales at a local hotel, said he had never rushed into action like that. He remembers seeing Kent grab Bahringer but couldn't say for sure whether Rothmyer helped lift the man out.

"Tom's alive, and that's really all I care about," Voell said.

James Island and Charleston firefighters arrived at the scene after the men pulled Bahringer out of the house.

James Island Fire Chief Chris Seabolt said Kent and Voell rescued Bahringer and that Rothmyer arrived later. Charleston Fire Department spokesman Mark Ruppel said his investigator's notes say Kent and Rothmyer rescued Bahringer.