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A Rotting Durian Fruit Prompted a Gas Leak Scare and Evacuations on a Melbourne College Campus

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Fears of a gas leak caused around 500 students and staff to be evacuated from a university library in Melbourne, Australia on Saturday.

But instead of poisonous vapors, the 40 firefighters and specialists called to the scene found a rotting durian fruit stashed in a cupboard, according to the Herald Sun.

Melbourne’s Metropolitan Fire Brigade had sent out an alert about a possible chemical hazard at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology after the smell of gas was reported at the campus library.

A fire brigade spokesperson told the Sun that the odorous Southeast Asian fruit set off alarms after it filtered through the air conditioning.

In a statement titled “Rotten afternoon on campus,” the Metropolitan Fire Brigade said firefighters gave the “all clear” after the smelly fruit was located and removed.

“After a comprehensive search, firefighters identified the smell was not chemical gas, but gas generated from rotting durian,” it said.

Durians, dubbed the king of fruits, are a sharply divisive creature. Notorious for their prickly outer shell and pungent aroma, which is often likened to rotting trash or gym socks, they are also relished for their creamy, sweet interior. Durians are banned from Singapore’s subway system and from many hotels around Asia.

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Write to Laignee Barron at Laignee.Barron@time.com