Sydney officials evacuated a whole floor of an office building after smelling what they thought was a gas leak. They found out later it was durian, whose scent had wafted up through the vents from a neighboring warehouse where Malaysian agricultural staff were unloading a shipment of the pungent fruit, The Star reports.
Malaysia’s Sydney Consulate agriculture director Muhammad Rudy Khairudin Mohd Nor said the ‘gas’ alert followed Agriculture Malaysia staff opening 10 packs of ‘Musang King’ and ‘D24’ durians at 2 pm for lab tests in their Sydney CBD office.
The strong, pungent smell of the durians went into the ventilation system and reached the next office on the 15th floor of the Market St building.
“The staff in the adjoining office, all Caucasians, panicked because they thought there was a gas leak … they summoned the emergency services. The whole floor was evacuated within minutes,” he said.
Muhammad Rudy said security and emergency staff arrived at the 15th floor to investigate and, sniffing out evidence, ended up at the consulate seeking answers.
“We explained that the smell came from the durians. The officers were amazed and puzzled how similar the smell was to gas, although they were convinced after we showed them the fruit and how it smells,” he added.
This isn’t the first time people confused durian scent with a noxious substance [or correctly identified it as such – Ed.]. Last year, a bus driver in Jinan, Shandong province ordered everybody out of her bus when she smelled what she thought was gas. It turned out to be a young girl eating durian at the back of the vehicle. The durian’s offensive odor has also gotten it banned from hotels and other public spaces across Asia, which often sport signs saying things like “no firearms, no explosives, no durians.”
All this info should prove useful to law enforcement who can now give up on tear gas and alarms, and instead evacuate people from buildings by placing durians in the vents. Not to mention the spiky fruit’s potential use as a fearsome melee weapon.
[Image credit: @zolmuhdfoto]