It's emerged that a man in his 70s who died in a car fire in the Suffolk village of Cavendish was a retired senior detective with the Metropolitan Police.
The man was named locally as Edwin Williams, a former Detective Superintendent who had retired to the village.
His car was engulfed in flames after it exploded on the village green early yesterday.
West Suffolk district councillor Peter Stevens said he heard the noise but didn't realise what it was until he saw blue lights flashing as emergency services arrived.
He said Mr Williams had lived in the village for 15 years and the whole community had been left distressed by what had happened.
He said: "It's just shocking - this sort of thing doesn't happen in villages like ours and its left us all in rather a state."
Mr Stevens said Mr Williams had a reputation as a combative character locally.
"I've known Mr Williams during my time as a parish councillor and he has at times been difficult to deal with at a local level and would easily resort to law, which is not really the way we tend to deal with things in the countryside."
Police confirmed the incident was not suspicious and said they were preparing a file for the coroner.
Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service and police were called at just after 7:30am on Saturday 6 March, to reports of a vehicle alight on The Green in the village.
Police said the driver of the grey Hyundai IX35 estate car died at the scene. His family have been told.
Two other cars, parked nearby, were damaged as a result of the fire. The road had to be closed for several hours while an investigation took place.
Any witnesses, or anyone driving in the area at around 7:30am with a dashcam in their vehicle, are asked to contact the Suffolk Police, quoting reference: CAD 64 of 6 March.