Jay Leno, 72, spoke out for the first time about what actually happened little over a month ago when a terrible accident in his garage left him with serious second-degree burns all over his face and upper torso.
Leno opened up about what went wrong and the physical suffering he experienced both during and after the incident in a candid interview with People Magazine. The comedian said in the interview that he suffered an injury while repairing one of his antique vehicles, a 1907 White Steam Car.
After the 115-year-old vehicle caught fire in his Los Angeles garage, Jay Leno suffered injuries. He was taken to the hospital after being saved by a friend. The host of The Tonight Show endured many operations, one of which was a grafting treatment, and was released in late November.
“It was a 1907 White Steam Car. The fuel line was clogged, so I was underneath it. It sounded clogged and I said, ‘Blow some air through the line,’ Mr. Leno remarked.
The vintage car works considerably differently from any modern automobile. “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.”
He remembered the sounds the fuel line had made. “And suddenly, boom, I got a face full of gas. And then the pilot light jumped and my face caught on fire,” he added.
The comedian recalled holding his breath and closing his eyes as he struggled to escape from under the car. He was saved by his friend Dave Killackey “I’m not a panicky guy, but I knew if I breathed in I could scorch my lungs. I was under the car maybe 10 seconds before Dave pulled me out. Any longer than that I could have lost my eye,” he added.
In order to put out the flames, Leno buried his face in Killackey’s work shirt. Minutes later, paramedics came, and by the next day, Leno had checked into The Grossman Center to receive treatment for burns that covered his face, neck, chest, hands, and left arm.
Leno also discussed his road to recovery. He had two skin grafting operations over the course of nine days to aid in the regeneration of new skin, using human cadaver skin and pig intestine. He also spent time in hyperbaric chambers to help the tissue get more oxygen.