American comedian Jay Leno described the moment his face caught fire in a fire that burned about 7% of his body.
Former Tonight Show host suffered severe burns to his hands and chest, as well as third-degree burns to his face, after one of his vintage cars caught fire in his Los Angeles garage last month.
He suffered “deep second-degree” and possibly third-degree burns in the fire, but was released from hospital on November 21.
In his first interview since sustaining his injuries, the 72-year-old told NBC’s Today program that he was working on his 1907 White Motor Co steam car with a friend when he noticed that the vehicle’s fuel line was clogged.
“So I was underneath, trying to unclog it, and I said, ‘Blow air through the line,'” Leno recalled.
“Then suddenly, boom, my face was full of gas, then the pilot light blew out and my face caught on fire.”
He added that his friend pulled him out and “jumped” on him, managing to smother the flames.
Leno was taken by ambulance to the hospital and then sent to the Grossman Burn Center in Los Angeles, where he received hyperbaric treatment – oxygen therapy that can speed the healing of burns.
Due to his injuries, he remained hospitalized for over a week.
Skin grafts from “human cadaver skin”
“I was badly burned by a gasoline fire,” Leno said in a statement last month. “I’m fine. I just need a week or two to get back on my feet.”
Grossman Burn Center director Dr. Peter Grossman told NBC Los Angeles that Leno had burns on “about 7% of his body” and was treated with temporary skin grafts from “skin of a human corpse”.
on his discharge from hospitalLeno posed for photos with staff members, revealing some of his burns.
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“I never considered myself a roast comic”
Despite the ordeal, he returned to stand-up comedy just days after his release and held a sold-out show in California.
“I never thought of myself as a roast comedian,” he joked at the event. “We have two shows tonight, regular and extra crispy.”
Leno, who also hosts the reality TV series Jay Leno’s Garage, is well known for his love of cars.
He has about 180 cars and 160 motorcycles in his garage near Hollywood Burbank Airport, according to duPont Registry, a marketplace and publication for collectors of rare and classic automobiles.