Add "gas leak" to the list of things durian kind of smells like
EC: Scientists Have Figured Out Why Durian Smells So Bad
Credit: Photo by Luknaja via Getty Images

For those not familiar with durians, the fruit is considered a delicacy in its native Asia, but to many Americans, it’s best known for its legendarily pungent odor which has been compared to things like turpentine, onions, and gym socks. The scent is so intense that the fruit has even been banned in places like Singapore’s mass transit system.

Students and faculty at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, probably understand the logic behind that ban. On Saturday, emergency responders were called to a school library after reports of a gas leak. Police evacuated about 600 people from the building, and protected with breathing apparatuses, dozens of firefighters searched for the source of the smell. Authorities were especially cautious because the facility was known to store some potentially dangerous chemicals, according to

However, in the end, the culprit wasn’t deemed to be gas or any other hazardous chemicals: It was actually just a fruit gone bad… a durian that had been left rotting in a cupboard. A statement from the Metropolitan Fire Brigade suggested that the odor had wafted its way into the air conditioning system which them proceeded to spread throughout the building.

About three hours later, by 6pm, the library was reopened to the public; however, though a rotting durian is technically “safe,” just how long the scent was lingering after the incident is unclear. It’s Saturday night, you’re in college, probably best to just avoid the durian-afflicted library at that point regardless.

As to how the rotting fruit ended up in a cupboard to begin with, new reports haven’t said. Likely, since it doesn’t sound as if it was maliciously hidden, the misplaced durian was probably just an oversight. But intentions in this instance aside, the fact that this story has gone viral could prove problematic if college kids see the fruit’s potential for causing havoc. Didn’t study for finals? Don’t worry, bro! I have a whole shipment of durians coming in from Southeast Asia. That’ll buy us at least three hours.