The following is a press release issued by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. The information has not been proven in a court of law and any individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:
On 02-13-2023 at approximately 4:09 a.m., Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to a possible arson at the Gualala Community Center located in the 47000 block of Center Street in Gualala, California.
When Deputies arrived, they contacted personnel with the South Coast Fire Protection District. South Coast Fire personnel were on scene and still in the process of extinguishing a large structure fire.
Deputies received initial information from fire personnel that suggested the fire may have been intentionally set. Deputies initiated an investigation and requested the response from detectives with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and an arson investigator with the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority.
While awaiting that response, Deputies were able to access video surveillance footage that showed a male individual igniting a fire at the location and then fleeing from the property on foot. Deputies observed that the ignited fire spread rapidly within minutes and fully engulphed the structure.
The video surveillance provided Deputies with a detailed clothing description of the suspect.
At about 7:52 a.m., following a review of that footage, Deputies located an individual matching the description in the 39000 block of South Highway 1 in Gualala.
The individual was identified as 53-year-old Roland Eskind, who is believed to be transient, arriving in the Gualala area just day(s) before the arson.
Eskind was arrested and transported to the Mendocino County Jail to be booked for willfully and maliciously setting fire to a structure (451 PC).
This investigation is still ongoing and additional information may be provided at a later date.
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the South Coast Fire Protection District, the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority, and the Gualala community for their assistance in this investigation.