Have you ever tried to surreptitiously consume food in the library? Lunch seems hours away, you've been revising since 9 AM, and every poem you attempt to read mentions eating a peach or stealing a plum. If only you had a plum, you think, gazing out of the window. The temptation becomes too much, so you gently pull some prawn crackers from your bag (courtesy of last night’s takeaway), hide a small pile under your copy of Mrs Dalloway, and avoid eye contact with anyone wondering why the hell the lit section smells like prawns at 11.12 AM on a Tuesday. Nailed it.
Unfortunately for students of Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, someone’s secret library snack caused a stink far worse than day-old prawn crackers, when a rotting durian resulted in hundreds being evacuated from the building.
As reported in the BBC, more than 500 people were required to leave the university library this weekend, after students and teachers reported a suspected gas leak. Firefighters were called to the building to investigate the source of the odour, and eventually discovered that the smell wasn’t toxic, but a durian fruit left rotting in a cupboard.
According to a statement from Melbourne Fire Brigade, the library was known “to store potentially dangerous chemicals,” but “after a comprehensive search, firefighters identified the smell was not chemical gas.”
Although the pungent durian smell disseminated through the building via the air conditioning system, the library had now reopened, and the fruit removed. There are no reports as to who was responsible for the durian, or why-in-the-name-of-all-that-is-holy anyone would bring a giant, funky-smelling fruit to nibble on while studying.
The spiky tropical delicacy, local to South East Asia, is infamous for its notable smell and strong taste, and has also been described as smelling “like shit” and tasting “like farts.”