Australian library evacuated after the smell of durian was mistaken for a gas leak
- The rogue durian, according to library staff, was left near an air vent on the library’s second level and eventually removed in a sealed bag
A piece of fruit prompted the evacuation of an Australian university library last week.
On Friday afternoon fire and rescue teams in the Australian Capital Territory responded to calls of “a strong smell of gas” inside the University of Canberra library.
The library was evacuated, and the territory’s emergency services released a statement saying hazardous materials crews were searching the building and conducting “atmospheric monitoring”.
Within an hour, the source of the stench had been discovered.
“Firefighters have completed a search of the building and located the source of the smell,” was the tactful statement from the emergency services department. “The library is now being reoccupied and the building has been handed back to University of Canberra staff.”
It was left to the library staff to reveal the source of the odour: a durian.
Once called the “king of fruits” by 19th-century British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, the Malaysian durian is adored for its at once sweet and savoury flavour and enjoys a cultish popularity in China. But its extremely pungent – often reviled – odour means the fruit is often banned from hotels and public transport across Asia.
The rogue durian, according to library staff, was left near an air vent on the library’s second level and eventually removed in a sealed bag.
“We are open!” a post on the university library’s Facebook page stated. “The lingering gas-like smell in the building is completely safe – someone left a durian fruit in one of our bins! Very sneaky.”
It is the second time in just over a year that a durian has led to the mass evacuation of a university library in Australia.
Last April, about 600 staff and students at the RMIT campus in Melbourne’s central business district had to be evacuated as almost 40 firefighters, including specialist crews, searched the building for a feared gas leak.
Judging by the reaction of students in Canberra once the source of the odour was revealed, university staff may need to get used to the smell.
“I’m so happy someone left it in the bin! hahahah but yummm I LOVE DURIANSSS,” one wrote on Facebook.
“Keep the seed, plant it and you might be able to export it to China … Durian is KING!!!” said another.