Every so often, especially when it’s cold, I have to turn the key a couple times before the starter engages. Whenever this happens, the windshield wiper fuse blows. There’s no casing around the steering column and I did once see a spark. It’s a '91 Corolla.
I would guess you or someone is going to need to get in there and look around to find out what is shorting out and causing the problems. The lack of a cover is a good indication that there is trouble there. I would guess it may have been stolen at one time or another and been damaged, or maybe someone else had problems and removed the cover to see if they could find the problem.
the ignition is probably not blowing the fuse. All the ignition is doing is what it’s supposed to do - providing power to the circuit. It’s something in the circuit that’s blowing the fuse, so don’t look at the ignition - - look at the wiper circuit