GE Profile Refrigerator MELTDOWN

Top Freezer model, 2 1/2 years old. Melted, distorted plastic around burnt-out bulb in the panel that holds bulb and temperature dials. Bulb socket loose. Bulb shattered immediately upon light touch. Was this the result of a short? And can a short be strong enough to melt the plastic?
Should I just try replacing the bulb, or does the whole panel need replacing? Thanks, Ken W.
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