It’s been named one of the “most god-awful smells in the world” and it seems it can even be confused with a gas leak, with the smell of the durian fruit leading to 550 people being evacuated from the University of Canberra Library on Friday (May 10).
Firefighters evacuated students and staff from the building in under six minutes at about 2.30 pm on Friday afternoon following reports of a strong smell of gas.
They then investigated the source of the smell and found it came from an unexpected source – part of a durian fruit left in a bin near an air vent!
According to the ACT Emergency Services Agency, HAZMAT crews then conducted atmospheric monitoring to ensure the area was safe before people were allowed back into the building.
“Fortunately the suspected gas leak turned out to be a part of a durian – the offending fruit has now been removed,” UC Library wrote on their Facebook page, adding that the library was completely safe despite the “lingering gas-like smell”.
The library said the offending fruit was removed from the building in a sealed bag.
The evacuation of the library due to the rank smell of the durian fruit is starting to attract international media attention and, it seems, is the second time something like this has happened in Australia in a little over a year.
In April last year, more than 500 students were evacuated from RMIT’s library in Melbourne because of a gas smell that turned out to have originated from a rotting durian that had been left in a cupboard.
UC Library is intent on the problem not being repeated in Canberra and has now banned durian fruit from its premises, putting up a temporary Facebook profile photo to emphasize the decision.
While this may be disappointing for some students who took to social media to declare their love for the tropical fruit, a ban on durian fruit is certainly not uncommon.
“Tastes like heaven. Smells like hell! In Singapore they have ‘don’t eat durian’ on the train signs!” commented one student.
“Not healthy when eaten in big quantities- nor it seems if left out in a bin!” commented another student.
According to the Smithsonian Magazine, the notorious Asian fruit has such a potent stench that it’s banned on the Singapore Rapid Mass Transit.
The magazine’s food writer, Richard Sterling, once wrote that “its odour is best-described as…turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock”.
Science Alert agrees, listing the smell of the durian fruit as one of the “most god-awful smells in the world you should do your best to avoid”. In future, UC library will no doubt be doing its best to do exactly that.
Have you ever tried durian? Can you stand the smell? Let us know in the comments below.