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Hutton Rudby residents speak of shock at man's death in car blaze
VILLAGERS yesterday told of their shock at learning a man's body had been found in a car which burst into flames outside the front door of a luxury home.
Residents in Hutton Rudby, North Yorkshire, described how they ran out into the street to find the burning vehicle after hearing a series of explosions on Tuesday afternoon.
A silver Toyota had been driven up the gravel entrance to the property in the Enterpen area of the village. It exploded just yards from the front door at 1.43pm.
The home belongs to the owners of the haulage firm Preston's of Potto.
Speaking outside the house yesterday, company chairman Anne Preston said: "It is nobody that I know. The police have told us not to say anything. It's all a mystery."
A window at the home was boarded up after it is believed to have been damaged by the heat and flames.
Police say they are treating the death of the man as "unexplained".
The explosion prompted a major emergency response, including an army bomb disposal unit from Catterick Garrison. The road was cordoned off for nearly seven hours.
Onlookers reported seeing flames ten feet high as the car burned - but many only learned the following morning that a man had been inside the vehicle.
One resident, Keith Thompson, said: "It kept on exploding at intervals. I think at that point police called the bomb squad in.
"It was right in front of the house but luckily no one was in. It blew two or three windows in as far as I know.
"The back of the car just disintegrated into a kind of metallic ash. We didn't know anybody was inside.
"There was about five or six people standing round and one or two had tried to get near, but they couldn't because shrapnel kept flying off it."
Another neighbour, Elizabeth Roe said: "Nobody could do anything until the fire engine came, not when there were bangs going off and explosions.
"I didn't know until this morning that they had found a body.
"Everybody just heard the bangs and went out on the pavement."
North Yorkshire Police and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue have launched a joint investigation into the incident.
A police spokesman said the man's death was not being treated as suspicious, and he is not believed to have been a member of the Preston family.
"It's still unexplained but there is no threat to the public," said the spokesman.
"Police and fire investigators are currently conducting inquiries to identify the deceased and to establish the cause of the fire."
Anyone who can help detectives should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101.