One recent day a customer using the bathroom in a common area behind Community Pharmacy on State Street noticed what she thought was the smell of natural gas. Madison Gas and Electric was called and "recommended that we get everybody out of the building," says store employee Day Host-Jablonski.
The store evacuated, as did a telemarketing firm in the basement. Someone ducked into Paciugo Gelato, next door, to warn of the danger.
"Um," an employee there responded, "I don't think that's natural gas." MGE officials soon arrived to confirm: There was no leak.
Turns out the specialty ice cream store was making a batch using durian, an exotic Southeast Asia fruit that even in the region is banned from some hotels and public transit because of its penetrating aroma. It was the store's first batch and, says manager Roberto Setiawijaya, "I think it's going to be the last."