Jay Leno is opening up about surviving a fire in his garage several weeks ago. In an interview with NBC News’ Today, set to air on Wednesday, the former late-night TV host explained how the incident occurred while working on 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,’ and so he did,’ ” Leno recounted to Hoda Kotb. “And suddenly, boom, I got a face full of gas. And then the pilot light jumped and my face caught on fire.”
“And I said to my friend, I said, ‘Dave, I’m on fire.’ And Dave’s like, ‘All right,’ ” Leno added. “I said, ‘Dave, I’m on fire.’ And then, ‘Oh, my God.’ Dave, my friend, pulled me out and jumped on top of me and kind of smothered the fire.”
Last month, during a press conference, Leno’s doctor Peter Grossman told members of the press that he had undergone a skin grafting procedure to tend to the severe burns on his face, chest, and hands that he faced due to the fire.
Despite the severity of his injuries and the intense treatment, Leno has reportedly been a model patient during his hospital stay. At one point, Grossman said he was passing out cookies to children in the burn ward.
“He’s walking around and cracking jokes. He’s incredibly kind to our nursing staff,” the doctor said. “He’s very appreciative of everybody here and really an ideal patient.”
In a statement following the accident, he said, “I got some serious burns from a gasoline fire. I am OK. Just need a week or two to get back on my feet.”
News of the burn broke after it was reported that Leno would have to miss a stand-up appearance in Las Vegas due to a “serious medical emergency.”
“His family was not able to provide us very many details, but there was a very serious medical emergency that is preventing Jay from traveling,” the email to attendees stated. “All we know is that he is alive, so our prayers go out to him and his family tonight.”