Fruit with odour of 'onions in a gym sock' sparks uni evacuation

13 May 2019, 09:32 | Updated: 13 May 2019, 11:37

A university library evacuated over a suspected gas leak has reopened after hazardous material crews found out that a discarded piece of fruit was responsible for the unpleasant smell.

Firefighters in Australia were called to the University of Canberra on Friday after a "strong smell of gas" was reported - with hundreds of students leaving the building within minutes so a thorough search could take place.

After an hour, the source of the foul odour was discovered: a durian fruit which had been left in a bin near an air vent on the second floor.

The durian was once known as the "king of fruits" and is loved for its sweet and savoury flavour - especially in China.

But the fruit has a reputation for its potent stench, with food writer Richard Sterling once claiming that its odour of "turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock" can be smelled from yards away.

The powerful pong has prompted hotels and public transport systems across Asia to ban durians altogether.

In a post on its Facebook page after the incident, the library wrote: "We are open! The lingering gas-like smell in the building is completely safe - someone left a durian fruit in one of our bins! Very sneaky!"

One student wrote on Facebook: "I'm so happy someone left it in the bin! Hahahah but yummm I LOVE DURIANSSSS."

Another wrote: "Keep the seed, plant it and you might be able to export it to China…Durian is KING!!!"

The library also changed its Facebook profile picture to a sign that showed durians were prohibited - which, judging by posts from the students, could cause an even bigger stink.