Jontyc: Thank you very much for your reply. Your explanation sounds very plausible and it has put my 'non-tech' brain to work big time. I would be very interested in your comments on the following:
I tested the 'fried' capacitor/resistor with a multimeter and it does not appear to be shorted in the closed position. I am including an additional photo which seems to show that the melt-down of the component is external rather than internal.
Be that as it may, if the shorted out capacitor/resistor did bypass the switching relay and directly feed the heating element, can its wire size on it handle the load of 1200 watts for the element for the time required to boil out all the water? Buy the way, the boiler pressure gauge was permanently pegged at the maximum setting of 2.5 bar. At this point I am trying to figure out a way to test the setting on the relief valve, but nothing as of yet.
Finally, is the function of the capacitor/resistor it is to prevent overheating of the element? I have found a replacement and it is sold as a part of an 'add on' harness for older machines to protect the element.
I have located and purchased all the replacement parts to put my machine back together and obviously I don't want to see first-hand a repeat of the melt-down. I sincerely appreciate your interest and expertise. Thanks again. TB