Gas Leak Warning in Australia Turned Out to be Durian – Again


If you place a durian out on the street, leave it there for 10 minutes, and return, you’d find around 50 Singaporeans around it hacking at it with a knife.

That’s because Singaporeans are born with a gift of sniffing durians from distances of up to 10,000 metres away.

For Singaporeans, the distinctive perfume of durian is a pleasure for our nostrils; much like some people enjoy smelling flowers in a garden, we enjoy inhaling the intoxicating scent of durian.

Unfortunately, not everyone seems to share this affection for its aroma. In fact, in some countries, the smell might prompt the arrival of firefighters.

Gas Leak Warning in Australia Turned Out to be Durian – Again

A shopping centre in Canberra, Australia, was evacuated yesterday (15 Oct) due to fears of a gas leak.

Due to a suspiciously “pungent smell”, Canberra’s emergency services had issued a “hazardous materials – gas leak” warning asking people to “avoid the area”.

The gas leak was deemed to be a threat great enough for the Fire and Rescue department to be called in.

So, presumably after ensuring that no one had farted, firefighters began looking for the source of the gas leak.

As they were searching, the owners of a tenancy above the shops provided information on what they believed to be the source of the smell.

An hour later, firefighters found – yes, you guessed it – the King of fruits. They later confirmed the source of the smell was “in fact a durian fruit”.

“The fruit gives off a very pungent smell and can waft some distance,” the fire agency said in a statement which it will probably never make again.

Second Such Incident in Australia in 2 Years

Believe it or not, this is the second durian-related evacuation in the area in the last two years.

In 2019, it was a University of Canberra library that was evacuated due to “a strong smell of gas”. In the end, the smell turned out to be emanating from a green, thorny fruit.

It was found near an air vent on the library’s second level and was removed in a sealed bag.

It’s unclear if those removing the durian wore hazmat suits.

What Gives Durian Its Distinctive Aroma

According to researchers from the German Research Center for Food Chemistry (yes, some people actually studied the durian in a lab), it’s not one single compound but a mixture of different chemicals that produces the fruit’s unique smell.


In fact, 50 discrete compounds in the fruit are believed to be responsible for the aroma.

It’s precisely this aroma that puts so many people, especially outside Asia, off the fruit. But if you’ve never had durian, I’d give it a try before passing judgement.

After all, they say you should never judge a book by its smell. Or is it a fruit by its cover?

You can also watch this video to the end to understand why (most) Singaporeans think durian smell heavenly:

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