Hundreds of people were evacuated from a library in Melbourne’s city centre on Saturday (Apr 28) after a rotting durian sparked fears of a gas leak.
Firefighters were called to the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) university campus on Latrobe Street just after 3pm after a gas smell was reported in a library, the city’s fire department said in a statement.
About 500 students and teachers were evacuated by the police while dozens of firefighters donned breathing apparatus and investigated the source of the smell. The building is known to store potentially dangerous chemicals, the fire department added.
The firefighters eventually tracked down the stench to a durian that had been left in a cupboard.
“After a comprehensive search, firefighters identified the smell was not chemical gas, but gas generated from rotting durian, an extremely pungent fruit which had been left rotting in a cupboard,” the Metropolitan Fire Brigade said.
The smell had permeated the building’s air-conditioning system, it added.
Following the discovery, firefighters gave the all-clear and reopened the building by 6pm.
The city’s Environment Protection Authority will oversee the removal and storage of the waste, the statement said.