We came home last night to find one of our powerboards (outlet strips) had melted/caught fire. Pretty scary!
Now I'm not 100% sure on what happened but I believe that there was an oil column heater (2000w or 2400w, we're in Australia so max 240V/10A on a circuit) plugged in to the powerboard. The heater had been on all day and then turned off when people went out. We came home a few hours later to find the powerboard looking like that. None of the house circuit breakers had tripped.
I wanted to find out what happened so I opened up a similar powerboard and found that it was obviously the black box in this photo that was the issue:
I guess I'm wondering what happened? I was wondering if one of the live wires came loose from the overload switch (black box) and touched the other, causing a short circuit; this should have tripped the house circuit breakers shouldn't it? Could the overload switch have just failed on it's own? Would having the heater running all day have had an effect? The heater running at full power will draw the max allowed from the circuit but there should be no problem running it.