We turned toward each other, to ask the same question: "Do you smell something burning?" Nasally-led investigation led soon to the clothes dryer, whose operating cycle seemed to be largely complete, but whose electric outlet displayed a trace of smoke. Once the circuit was switched off, the plug's unpleasant countenance was revealed. Apparently, arcing from loose or corroded plugs and sockets is a major cause for electrically-related fires. We're very glad that we caught this one while it was contained, but are still working to dispatch the remaining odor.
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