Australian Library Evacuated After People Confused Durian Smell for a Gas Leak

The world's smelliest fruit strikes again.
May 13, 2019, 7:44am
Photo via Shutterstock

This article originally appeared on VICE Asia

Durian is arguably the most powerful fruit on earth. It can cause you to fail a Breathalyser test. It can delay a plane. There's even a charity event centred around running around carrying the forbidden fruit. And just last week, it was responsible for an evacuation of a library in Australia.

On Friday, fire and rescue teams in the Australia Capital Territory arrived at the University of Canberra library after receiving calls of "strong smell of gas." The library was evacuated, and hazardous crews began searching the building for the cause of the smell, and conducting "atmospheric monitoring."


An hour later, what they found wasn't the source of a gas leak. It was a durian left near an air vent in the library's second floor which was then removed in a sealed bag.

Emergency services didn't reveal their finding, however. In a statement, they said, "Firefighters have completed a search of the building and located the source of the smell. The library is now being reoccupied and the building has been handed back to University of Canberra staff.”

It was library staff who told the truth on the library's Facebook page:

It's unclear if the whole thing was some sick prank or plain coincidence, but nobody can't blame the university if it were to ban durians on campus after the incident.

This wasn't the first time that the stench of durian has caused a frenzy in Australia. In April last year, about 600 people cleared the library at the RMIT University city campus after suspicions of a gas leak. The real culprit of the smell turned out to be a rotting durian left in a cupboard. Durian is so notoriously stinky that it's banned in public transport in several cities in Southeast Asia. Some taxis will refuse passengers who carry the forbidden fruit, too. But of course, it doesn't stop many people from loving the fruit. The durian industry is experiencing a boom in recent years, especially in China, where the love for the world's smelliest fruit has led to durian everything—durian pizza, durian salad dressing and durian milk, to name a few. In response to China's demand, Malaysia is rushing for large-scale durian farming and hoping that it will see a 50 percent jump in exports to China by 2030.

In other words, durian is unstoppable. You can choose to love it and smell as if you've been french kissing your dead grandmother, as late Anthony Bourdain famously said. Or you can choose to hate it. It will stink just the same.