A particularly smelly durian fruit forced an entire Australian college to be evacuated, as students and staff feared a gas leak had occurred in the building.

The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology evacuated a building, along with 500 students and teachers, on Saturday 28th April and called the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, after reports of a gas leak in one of the libraries.

A hazardous materials team was sent in to inspect the building. In a statement, the fire brigade noted that: “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.” Fittingly, the statement was titled “Rotten afternoon on campus”.

The smell travelled from the library throughout the building via the air conditioning system. The fruit itself was eventually disposed of by the Environment Protection Authority Victoria.

Durians are infamously smelly fruit, and can attract fines from local law enforcement in some Asian countries. The large, thorny fruit, whose smell is likened to rotting garbage, is also a physical health hazard, as farmers need to wear helmets when harvesting in case one should fall from above.

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