An “unknown airborne inhalant” caused between 15 and 20 people to experience burning sensations in their noses and throats at the Palm Springs Department of Motor Vehicles office Wednesday — prompting the city’s fire department to respond and provide medical aid.

The Palm Springs Fire Department responded at 2:07 p.m. to what was initially called a “mass casualty incident” at the DMV office in the 1100 block of Farrell Drive.

According to Fire Capt. Nathan Gunkel, the “unknown airborne inhalant” somehow made its way into the building but quickly dissipated.

Specifics about the irritant and its source were being investigated. The building was briefly evacuated.

A public message sent by the fire department at 4:04 p.m. said that all those affected refused to be sent to the hospital, and that emergency personnel had cleared the scene.

Gunkel said the number of people affected was approximate because some patients reported the issue after leaving the scene.

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