Hey Harvey, there is no way of knowing, but we once did that with a freezer in our metal shop, it ran for 4 years. Only reason was we needed metal samples at -30 degrees for testing, and the freezer stayed at -32 if it ran full out. I assume you are shorting the thermostat, not a fuse or breaker? If so don't worry about starting a fire. CK has a point above however, you would certainly freeze all the food in the refrigerator section within a day or so, and then probably have to throw it all out. If you're really in a jam and can't get a thermostat for a week or so, use a switch, and simply turn it on for an hour each morning, each night, and in the middle of the day if you can. You will at some point forget about it and either leave it on all day, or off all day, and you might end up tossing food in the trash anyway. Almost cheaper to buy a replacement fridge than replacement food if you ask me. Good luck.