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Durian’s smell generated fake gas leak signal in Canberra

It happened again: durian smell prompted an university evacuation last week fearing a suspected gas leak.

Staff at the University of Canberra library were forced to evacuate the building even if scholars in Australia have had their preparations disrupted. Some 550 people evacuated the building in less than six minutes. Emergency services rushed to the scene. "Fortunately the suspected gas leak turned out to be a part of a durian - the offending fruit has now been removed," it was later said in a statement. "Firefighters have completed a search of the building and located the source of the smell," read a report from the Australian Capital Territory Emergency Services Agency, which added that a specialized team had carried out "atmospheric monitoring to ensure the area was safe."

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Durians are fruits from Asia. In November 2018, a cargo of durian caused an Indonesian plane to be temporarily grounded after passengers complained. Singapore has prohibited the fruit in its subway system. Food writer Richard Sterling described durian's odor as a mix of "turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock," which can be smelled from yards away. The odor is also perceived as a smell of gasoline.

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