Durian sparks fear of gas leak in Melbourne library

PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

PETALING JAYA - The King of Fruits caused a royally big scene in Melbourne, Australia after its pungent aroma was mistaken as a gas leak in a university library.

Approximately 500 students and teachers were evacuated by Victoria Police after the "smell of gas" was reported at the RMIT University's library.

Melbourne's Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) were called to the scene just after 3pm on Saturday (April 28) to investigate the source of the smell.

According to a MFB statement, the building was known to store potentially dangerous chemicals.

"After a comprehensive search, fire-fighters 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," said MFB.

The smell had spread around the building through the air conditioning system.

MFB informed that Melbourne's Environment Protection Authority will oversee the "removal and storage of the waste".

It is not known why the durian was left in a cupboard.

Durian is known as the King of Fruits for its formidable thorny exterior and strong odour and the smell is sufficiently pungent that the fruit is banned from some hotels and public transport.

Even though the fruit originates from Southeast Asia, it is exported to countries like Australia and can be found in supermarkets.

This is not the first time durians have caused panic.

Last year, building at Manchester University, England had to be evacuated over a suspected gas leak. But it turned out the smell was from a pungent durian.

In 2014, patients and staff from a Melbourne hospital were evacuated amid concerns there was a gas leak at one of the wards. Again, durian was the cause of the stench.

In 2013, an entire row of city centre shops in Plymouth, England were evacuated after a suspected gas leak, which was ultimately traced to durian.

 

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