Were there other breakers to the left of the burned one? What condition were they in?
And the top breaker on the left side looks like some more melting is happening in the screw area.
At least some of the other breakers appear to have tripped during the fire...
Thermostat pic: Was this the point of origin? I've heard of a few LV t'stats causing fires. If not, what was the cause of the fire?
Waht a sad thing to happen right before Xmas....
Mxslick: No breakers were installed to the left side of the AC breakers. The panel cover was intact and in place, and the knockouts were not disturbed. The thermostat was not the cause, that photo was just to confirm that the settings were in the off position. Cause appeared to be a flammable liquid spill. As my aunt used to say "it appeared to be Arsenic." It was still in the process of investigation at the time I left the scene.
I've found this a few times when I've pulled breakers out of the ITE style panels... It almost seems like either the contacts in the breaker didnt completely make & they heated up to London Broil temperatures, or corrosion occured between the breaker & the contact stab in the panel & thus lead to a heated connection... I've yet to come across this leading to an actual "structure involved" fire call... But none the less, evidence of that kind of heat having been present does make me think to "double check" all those connections & lugs...