Jay Leno Talks To ‘Today’ About Accident That Led To Severe Burns

Jay Leno talked to Today about the accident that led to him suffering severe burns last month, as he told co-host Hoda Kotb that his face “caught on fire.”

Leno spent nine days in the hospital, including extensive time in a hyperbaric chamber, as doctors worked to treat the burns and conduct skin grafts.

In the interview, Leno, a classic car enthusiast, said that on Nov. 12 he had been working on a 1907 white steam car with a clogged fuel line. He was working with a friend, Dave Killackey.

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“I was underneath it, trying to unclog it, and so I said, blow some air through the line,” Leno said. Then, he said, there was a “poof,” and  “then suddenly I got a face full of gas and then the pilot light jumped and my face caught on fire.”

“I said to my friend, I said, ‘Dave I am on fire here,’” Leno recalled.

Killackey described the scene as a “wall of fire” and said that he “couldn’t even see his face.”

“I grabbed him by the head and pulled his head into my chest,” Killackey told Today.

After he put the fire out, he advised Leno to got to the bathroom to treat his burns. But “it was horrific. It was a scary thing. It doesn’t take a genius to say, ‘call 911’,” Killackey said.

Paramedics came, but Leno wanted to go home first and didn’t go to the hospital until the next day, driving there with his wife. He was treated at Grossman Burn Center in West Hills, but declined to take any pain medication, Kotb said.

Leno’s surgeon, Peter Grossman, told People, “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.” He underwent two skin grafting procedures, People reported.

Leno also has returned to standup, appearing at the Comedy & Magic Club, a longtime venue.

He told People, “I know how bad it could have been. 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.”

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