ZACHARY — Video surveillance footage shows a Baton Rouge pastor and televangelist inside her home and leaving with belongings from her garage while a fire was burning in the residence Monday, according to an investigator’s sworn statement.
Investigators arrested Bridgett Steib, 49, 22870 Jacock Road, on Wednesday and booked her at Parish Prison on one count each of simple arson and arson with intent to defraud, state Fire Marshal Butch Browning said.
Steib, who is a pastor of Ministry of Love, a church on Hooper Road, was released on $25,000 bail, according to booking records.
Also arrested was Lucille Ellen Brown, 42, 6236 Barnes Road, Clinton, who was booked with simple arson and also released on bail. She is believed to be Steib’s sister, Browning said.
Fire Marshal’s investigator Chris Anderson, in the statement used to obtain an arrest warrant for Brown, said he was called to the Jacock Road fire by the Zachary Fire Department’s investigator on Monday and discovered the home had a video security system.
The digital video recorder connected to the security cameras was in the master bedroom, which was not damaged by the fire, according to Anderson’s affidavit.
Steib is married to Joseph Steib, who gave investigators permission to take the DVR recorder to view the recordings at a State Police facility, according to the affidavit.
Investigators were able to view Bridgett Steib and a woman, later identified as Brown, inside the home while the fire was starting.
“She, along with this other female, fled away from the home while it was on fire and did not call authorities,” Anderson writes.
The affidavit says Bridgett Steib denied being in the home while it was burning, saying she was picking up her mother to visit someone in the hospital at the time.
The video conflicts with her statement and also shows the two women carrying belongings inside the garage toward the vehicle that Steib used to leave the residence, the affidavit says.
Browning said the fire was started not long after a new insurance policy was taken on the house, increasing the insurance value.
Zachary Fire Chief Danny Kimble said about 25 percent of the home was destroyed by the blaze, which started in a utility room. The remainder of the house had smoke and water damage, he said.
Baker, Slaughter and Central firefighters assisted in extinguishing the fire.