There's a fascinating series of articles from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin about an outbreak of Plague in Honolulu's Chinatown and how a controlled burn to contain the epidemic rapidly became an uncontrolled burn.
'During the first weeks of November, dock workers on the Pacific Mail pier noticed that rats were behaving strangely, venturing into the light, dying in apparent agony. Not just a few. Hundreds of rats littered the pier. Workers shrugged and swept the dead animals off into the harbor water. Good riddance.'