Fears of ‘Gas Leak’ Led to Evacuation at University, Firemen Discover Durian

Durian is an extremely pungent fruit that is often dubbed as the smelliest fruit in the world but this rather maligned fruit recently caused panic at a university when hundreds of students had to evacuated for fear of a ‘gas leak’.

Last Saturday, at around 3 PM, someone from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, called Metropolitan Fire Brigade to report a suspected gas leak that could be caused by some unknown chemical hazard.

The smell was so strong that it permeated around the library in the campus but no one could figure out what was causing the scent. Quickly, students and staff were evacuated by Victoria Police while the hazardous-materials team from the Metropolitan Fire Brigade entered the building to investigate.


But the chemical hazard turned out to be nothing more than a rotting durian fruit left in the cupboard; though the ‘gas leak’ was so intense because the odor had entered and spread through the building’s air conditioning system.

In a statement cheekily entitled, “Rotten afternoon on campus,” the Metropolitan Fire Brigade confirmed:

After a comprehensive search, firefighters identified the smell was not chemical gas, but gas generated from rotting durian, an extremely pungent fruit which had been left rotting in a cupboard.

While durian isn’t exactly our favorite fruit in terms of its scent, we just couldn’t believe that it would cause a massive evacuation in Australia!

We’re quite sure the 500+ students and teachers evacuated from the library were quite amused by the incident – and surely thankful that they didn’t inhale some dangerous chemical hazard.

But why on Earth would a durian lead to such a massive evacuation? Well, durian isn’t exactly a common fruit and unless you have actually gone to select places in southeast Asia, you probably wouldn’t encounter this at all.

By Kalai [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons
To the ones who hadn’t smelled this rotten-smelling but delicious fruit, food writer Richard Sterling will help you with his rather hilarious description: “Best described as … turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock.

Durian is so smelly, in fact, that some places actually ban it, including Singapore’s subway system and some hotels in Asia. Oooops.

As for the ‘culprit’ at the library, fire officials announced that it would be disposed of by the Environment Protection Authority Victoria. Whew!