How could dumping your memory to hard disk cause your computer to melt? I think you are maybe listening too much to urban legends. I would like to find anyone who has personally had something like this happen to them.
The only issue with hibernation is that if you change out the environment from under it, it might get confused. For instance hibernating in a port replicator with an external monitor using a wired LAN with attached mouse and keyboard; and then taking the notebook away from that and reawakening it. This used to make hibernation fairly unusable with the older DOSes, but under winXP they’ve done a good job of reconfiguring the environment. Not perfect, but 80% of the time it can find itself.
If it can’t, the worst that happens is that you have to reboot (which is where you would be if you had shut down before). But I’ve never heard of a REAL case of lost data, fires, or other such calamities.