Durian triggers gas leak evacuation at Melbourne library

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Firefighters arrived at the campus of RMIT in downtown Melbourne around 3 p.m. on Saturday after receiving a call about a suspected gas leak.

A rotting durian fruit left in a cupboard.

Approximately 500 students and teachers were evacuated by Victoria Police after the "smell of gas" was reported at the RMIT University's library.

Nearly 40 firefighters, including masked specialist crews, had searched the building for the source of the smell, which students had feared was a chemical leak.

In 2014, patients and staff from a Melbourne hospital were evacuated amid concerns there was a gas leak at one of the wards.

It was after a foul spell spread across the library on campus that a fire brigade was sent out an alert stating a chemical hazard.

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The real cause of the "hazardous" smell?

The smelly fruit is popular, rather notorious, in many parts of the world, especially Southeast Asia, where it is mostly used in desserts.

A food writer, Richard Sterling, said the fruit is "best described as ... turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock", according to Smithsonian magazine.

Apparently the smell had been filtered through the building by the air conditioning system.

The Environment Protection Authority would oversee the removal and storage of the waste, the newspaper report said.

This is not the first time durians have caused panic.