The Beirut fireball’s vivid red colour sets it apart from the after effects of an atom bomb, too. “It’s characteristic of NO2 compounds,” Narang says, which are by-products of ammonium nitrate explosions. When released into the air, the gas can lead to respiratory issues; according to the American Lung Association, inhaling it increases the chance of inflammation of the airways, coughing and wheezing, and reduced lung function. High levels of ammonia in the air can cause blindness, lung damage, and death as well. So far in Beirut, there have been no reports of extensive negative health impacts from breathing the air following the explosion.