Jay Leno is lucky to be alive after a horrific burn accident on Nov. 12 left him with second-degree burns on his face, neck, chest, hands, and one of his arms. In a Dec. 13 article published by People, the 72-year-old comedian, and host of CNBC’s Jay Leno’s Garage shared photos of himself in a hospital bed following the accident — and went into great detail about how the whole situation unfolded.
The incident occurred on Nov. 12 when Jay and his close friend, Dave Killackey, were working on a 1907 White Steam Car parked in Jay’s massive Burbank, Calif., garage. According to the outlet, the two were fixing a clogged fuel line underneath the vehicle. “When you work with cars, you have a lot of accidents. But this is bigger than most,” Leno said in the interview published on Dec. 13. “With a steam car, you have gasoline, but you also have a vaporizer which is heated by a pilot light to turn water into steam.” People included photos of the car that the two friends were working on.
While attempting to repair the issue, Jay said, “I got a face full of gasoline,” adding, “I knew how close I was to the pilot light and I thought ‘Uh oh.'” He then revealed that the gasoline reacted with the spark and his entire face was engulfed in flames. “It felt exactly like my face was on fire. Maybe like the most intense sunburn you’ve ever had, that’d be fair to say,” Jay said.
“I was under the car maybe 10 seconds before Dave pulled me out. Any longer than that I could have lost my eye. I’m not a panicky guy, but I knew if I breathed in I could scorch my lungs,” Jay said in the interview. After Dave helped Jay by smothering him with the shirt he was wearing, paramedics soon arrived. They brought the iconic TV show host to the Grossman Burn Center. People also spoke to Jay’s surgeon at the hospital, Dr. Peter Grossman, who told the outlet, “When he came in, his burns were deeper than I anticipated. Jay is definitely an outlier in terms of how well he’s healed considering the severity of his injuries.” The article also included a photo of Jay in a hospital bed while undergoing treatment.
As a result of his injuries, Jay had to undergo two skin grafting surgeries. He also had several sessions in a hyperbaric chamber, which helped to oxygenate his tissue, the outlet stated. He was hospitalized for nine days and Jay also revealed to People that he refused to take pain medication. Less than a week after he left the hospital, Jay performed a standup comedy routine at the Comedy & Magic Club, which is located in Hermosa Beach, California. Jokingly, he said, “It kind of gave my career a shot in the arm because it’s like, ‘Let’s go see him before he burns up again.'”