If it were my kiln, I would go ahead and fire to cone 6. You don't need to fire it empty unless you are not sure the kiln will reach cone 6. The small broken brick likely does not need maintenance. But you should fix the bulging element so that it doesn't get worse. The kiln should be at least 12" away from the nearest wall. So, you don't need to push the kiln farther away than it already is.
Good luck with your firings!
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