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RandomGirl's avatar

What would a fruity smell coming from the basement of an old building indicate?

Asked by RandomGirl (3357points) January 1st, 2013 from iPhone

I spent NYE at our tiny country church, playing games and snacking. As we were packing everything up at 12:30 am, I was standing next to an air vent. There was a weird smell coming from the basement. (The air vents go straight from the basement up – no ducts, really.) I walked over to a different vent, and smelled it there, too. Other people noticed it, too. Over the next half hour, it seemed to get stronger and spread.
This building is 150+ years old and is in sore need of demolition, by the way. Dead animals of many kinds have been found in the basement, so that was the first guess. But we’ve never noticed this weird fruity smell. What could be causing this? Should something be done about it?

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6 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

A recently deceased small animal, such as a rat or mouse or squirrel, has just such a smell. It is powerful, noticeable and nasty. However, it will dissipate in several days when the corpus undilecti decomposes and the maggots have had their fill.

Coloma's avatar

Well, hopefully it is only an animal and not a human. Gah!
Basements and bags of lime have been the burial ground of choice for many infamous killers. haha

RandomGirl's avatar

@Coloma That would be really, really freaky. I like watching Psych, but having it happen in real life wouldn’t be good.

laurenkem's avatar

Did anyone actually go into the basement to see if the source of the smell could be located? If it’s very old, is it possible that at one time it was used as a cool place to store fruits and/or vegetables for long periods of time?

I do vote for the dead mouse, though – there’s something about that smell that is very distinct.

RandomGirl's avatar

@laurenkem – I couldn’t convince anyone to go down there. I think someone really should, though… Maybe someone will be convinced if the smell is there again tomorrow.

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