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A Thorny Issue: Durian Causes Evacuation In Australian University

This is not the first of such incidences in Australia.


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A Thorny Issue: Durian Causes Evacuation In Australian University

Ah durians… even the most ardent fans would agree the smell can get a little overpowering sometimes, but does it really smell like a gas leak though?

The people of Australia seem to think so.

On Friday (10 May), about 550 people were evacuated from the library of University of Canberra, Australia after what was initally perceived as a gas leak scare, Channel News Asia reported.

Dani Ramos on Unsplash
According to the news report, firefighters were called in and after an hour of searching, they found the culprit – a part of a durian that was left in the library’s rubbish bin.

To make it even more over-the-top, even the HAZMAT team was present; just in case, we guess. Better safe than sorry, right?

However, if you thought that this was a funny, one-off thing, we found out that this is not the first time a place was evacuated in the Land Down Under because of the thorny fruit.

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The durian casualties

In April last year, RMIT University’s library in Melbourne (what is it with libraries and durian?) was evacuated for the same reason.

About 40 firefighters went through the building to discover the source of the smell, only to find a rotting durian left in a cupboard, Herald Sun had reported.

To be fair, the building is said to possibly store harmful chemicals that could have been dangerous, but didn’t the institution have any Asian students?

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You’d think that the university or fire department would have just thrown the offending fruit away but nope; they had to call the Environment Protection Authority to deal with it.

Seriously, Australia? You guys have the most number of poisonous animals in the world and you’re afraid of durians?

If you think those were the only incidents, you’d be wrong.

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In 2014, six patients were evacuated from the Mitcham Private Hospital when the staff smelled a durian and mistaken it for a gas leak.

ABC News reported that the durian was possibly a gift to one of the patients (who gives durian to a sick person?).

The hospital was not sorry they inconvenienced the firefighters, although in a hospital setting, safety always comes first.

Australia is not the only country to fear the king of fruits.

Way back in 2013, a mall in Richmond, USA was also reportedly evacuated due to a suspected gas leak. The incident unfolded similarly to all the others we listed above, with the fire department being called and durians being found.

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The durians were sold at one of the Asian supermarkets located in the building.

Mall manager Allan Ho reportedly chalked up the whole issue to cultural misunderstanding as the person who reported it was not an Asian.

Closer to home, a plane in Indonesia was temporarily grounded when a couple of passengers refused to fly in an aircraft that was carrying a two-tonne cargo filled with durians.

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According to SBC News, the plane only took off after the durians were removed as passengers refused to get on the plane otherwise.

Here's a suggestion: perhaps there should be a course to introduce the smell of the King of Fruits to firefighters in non-Asian countries, so they don’t spend hours trying to identify the problem.


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