University evacuates for fear of gas leak. The alarming smell was actually a really stinky fruit

Pile of durian fruits (Photo: BeeBright, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Students in Australia were in for a smelly surprise when a suspected gas leak at a university library turned out to be just a particularly pungent fruit.

The University of Canberra’s library evacuated late last week after a suspected gas leak, a statement on the library’s Facebook page read, forcing about 550 people to leave the building in less than six minutes.

But soon after, the library provided an update to the situation, explaining a durian caused the stir.

“And we’re open!” the edited post read. “Fortunately the suspected gas leak turned out to be a part of a durian – the offending fruit has now been removed.”

The confusion unfolded Thursday as classes were ending for the semester and students were preparing for an exam period, which began Monday.

The day after the evacuation, the library ensured students still had a place to study, even if it was a bit stinky.

Durians are a divisive fruit from Asia and known for their strong aroma. To some, the fruits have a pleasant smell and taste, but others get more of a “turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock,” food writer Richard Sterling once wrote, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

A mixture of chemicals in the fruit creates its unique scent, according to Smithsonian. In Singapore, the fruit is banned on some trains.

And it has caused problems in public places before. In November, an Indonesian flight was delayed after passengers complained of a foul smell from the fruit.

Follow USA TODAY’s Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller

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