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Won't cause a fire ... is either a transmission or a drain pump. Either can smoke a belt, neither will cause a fire.
To test lean it back at a 45 and remove the belt. Turn both by hand pump should be free and quiet both directions if not replace. If so it's the transmission. Transmission not worth fixing use till it burns the belt or stops working and replace.
Rarely the motor could cause noise but it's very rare and you can tell by spinning it to. Report back if it's the motor
Thank you. You've put my mind at ease. I can sleep tonight.
I am not able to do what you suggest by myself, but I will put in a Work Order Request to the Maintenance committee here in my Co-op with a copy of your advice. Thank you again! - Julie.