From North Carolina Department of Insurance News Bulletin No. 4, circa 1914:
Rats Do Start Fires-Caught in the Act
From the New York Times
Rats do sometimes steal matches and start fires. Proof for skeptics:
For an hour yesterday afternoon from nobody knew where sifted smoke through the six story tenement house at 134 Cannon Street, on the East Side. Persistent sniffing traced it to the kitchen of Solomon Lichblaum on the third floor. It was curling through a crack under the sink.
Solomon called the firemen. They tore up the floor and fond a rat’s nest made of rags. The rags were smoldering. In another hour the rat family would have had no home.
“All my life people have been telling me that rats are responsible for some tenements fires, but I never believed it until now,” said Battalion Chief Helm.