The legendary former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno was severely burned in a gasoline fire last month, and he’s now breaking his silence about his injuries for the first time.
Leno Recalls Fire
Daily Mail reported that Leno, 72, was working under one of his vintage cars in his garage in Burbank, California with his friend Dave Killackey when the fire broke out on November 12.
“It was a 1907 White Steam Car,” Leno recalled. “The fuel line was clogged so I was underneath it. It sounded clogged and I said, ‘Blow some air through the line,’ and suddenly, boom, I got a face full of gas. And then the pilot light jumped and my face caught on fire.”
“It felt exactly like my face was on fire,” he added, according to People Magazine. “Maybe like the most intense sunburn you’ve ever had, that’d be fair to say.”
Based on his years of experience working on cars, Leno knew to shut his eyes and hold his breath as he tried to get out from underneath the vehicle.
I’m not a panicky guy, but I knew if I breathed in I could scorch my lungs,” he said. “I was under the car maybe 10 seconds before Dave pulled me out. Any longer than that I could have lost my eye.”
Leno credited Killackey with saving him after the fire broke out, saying that he “pulled me out and jumped on top of me and kind of smothered the fire.”
After the fire, Leno spent nine days being treated at the Grossman Burn Center.
“When he came in, his burns were deeper than I anticipated,” said Dr. Peter Grossman, who treated the comedian personally. “Jay is definitely an outlier in terms of how well he’s healed considering the severity of his injuries.”
Leno refused to take any pain medication despite the severity of his injuries, saying, “The pain is a reminder that I’m an idiot!”
Throughout his nine days of treatment, his beloved wife of 42 years Mavis slept beside him, and his various famous friends sent him support as well.
“Travolta sent me a big Italian basket, Tom Selleck sent flowers and Russell Crowe called from Australia,” he said. “I’ve been in this business a long time and to feel that love was really touching.”
Leno has also returned to working on his cars in his garage, and though he’s doing well, he knows he’s very lucky that things did not end up much worse for him,
“I know how bad it could have been,” he concluded. “But I’m okay. And I’m sure I’ll continue to do the same stupid things I’ve always done. Just maybe a little bit more carefully!”
Throughout this entire ordeal, Leno has shown that he is one tough cookie who has also remained down-to-earth despite his many years in Hollywood. Please join us in praying for him as he continues his recovery!