How does that apply to this tragedy?
Since it is not typical for American homes to be rat-infested, one might reasonably wonder what caused the infestation that resulted in this tragedy.
They are unable to put out trash without government granted trash cans/trash bags and wait for City Sanitation to come through neighborhoods 6 months after an ice storm to pick up guttering strewn all over their lawns.
I can state this from first hand knowledge as I live 5 minutes from the State Line between MO and KS. When it snows, KS salts/sands and plows their streets. Driving east into MO the story is entirely different, they wait for a thaw to melt the snow telling everyone that "their salt/sand supplies were in limited supply based upon unusually heavy snows, etc." What makes it even tougher to take, the City of Kansas City, MO has an "earnings tax" that they put on everyone who works in the city "to cover the maintenance of city services" necessary for the extra citizens' needs.
Yes, this is indeed a tragedy, but this story sounds like one that might have been written in the early 1900s, as though there are no advances in dealing with rodents roaming in neighborhoods. One just might expect this to happen in the summer when garbage is left lying around on city streets attracting rodents but we have had a particularly cold, snowy winter and many former slums of public housing have been torn down and new housing erected but unfortunately, the reason the former dwellings were in such a condition, was the results of the people living there.
Side note, I grew up in what is now some of the worst "inner city poverty area" and it breaks my heart to ever drive into the area where I used to live. We were a working class neighborhood, not at all wealthy but we mowed our own lawns, painted our own homes, picked up our own trash and exterminated any rodents found anywhere!!!