Jay Leno recalls moment his 'face caught on fire' during garage blaze when he suffered serious burns
Jay Leno discussed the garage fire that could have caused more damage had his friend Dave Killackey not been there to rescue him. The 72-year-old retired "Tonight Show" host was fixing a 1907 White Steam Car when something went wrong. His buddy stepped into action while they were working on the classic car in his garage in November. "The fuel line was clogged, so I was underneath it," Leno told "Today." "It sounded clogged, and I said, 'Blow some air through the line,' and suddenly … Boom I got a face full of gas and the pilot light jumped, and my face caught on fire." "I said to my friend, I said, 'Dave I'm on fire.' It felt exactly like my face was on fire," Leno noted to People magazine. "Maybe like the most intense sunburn you've ever had, that'd be fair to say." JAY LENO WANTS TO JOKE ABOUT HIS FACIAL BURNS: ‘THERE’S NOTHING WORSE THAN WHINY CELEBRITIES Leno explained that he immediately knew he had to close his eyes and hold his breath. "I'm not a panicky guy, but I knew if I breathed in I could scorch my lungs," he explained. "I was under the car maybe 10 seconds before Dave pulled me out. Any longer than that I could have lost my eye." Jay was admitted to the Grossman Burn Center at the West Hills Hospital and underwent multiple surgeries, including skin grafting, to treat "significant burns to his face and hands." Leno also had scarring on his chest from the flames. "Dave, my friend, pulled me out and jumped on top of me and kind of smothered the fire," Leno said. JAY LENO REVEALS BURNS FROM FIRE, RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL Burbank Fire Department Battalion Chief Dave Burke released an incident report to Fox News Digital that revealed officials responded to the "emergency medical call" Nov. 12 at 12:28 p.m. Shortly after the accident, Leno said in a statement to Fox News Digital, "I got some serious burns from a gasoline fire. I am OK. Just need a week or two to get back on my feet." JAY LENO'S DOCTOR GIVES UPDATE AFTER HE SUFFERED ‘SERIOUS BURNS’ IN GASOLINE FIRE Leno had at least two surgeries while at the burn center, one of them a "surgical excision and grafting procedure." He also required the use of a hyperbaric chamber to help provide better blood flow and decrease bacteria. Dr. Peter Grossman was "optimistic that he will make a full recovery" and said in a release provided to Fox News Digital that he was "pleased with Jay's progress." "Jay would like to let everyone know how thankful he is for the care he received and is very appreciative of all of the well wishes," the Grossman Burn Center said in a statement. Dr. Grossman shared that when Leno initially came in, the comedian's "burns were deeper" than he had anticipated. "Jay is definitely an outlier in terms of how well he's healed considering the severity of his injuries," Dr. Grossman said. Leno also declined to take any medication, according to the outlet. "The pain is a reminder that I'm an idiot!" he said. CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR THE ENTERTAINMENT NEWSLETTER Two weeks after the incident, Leno was joking about it at his first stand-up gig at The Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach. "I never thought of myself as a roast comic," he said. "We have two shows tonight: regular and extra crispy." He told The Wall Street Journal, "Eight days later, I had a brand new face. And it’s better than what was there before. "But really, it was an accident, that’s all. Anybody who works with their hands on a regular basis is going to have an accident at some point." Throughout the ordeal, Leno has been thankful for the support of his fellow stars. "[John] Travolta sent me a big Italian basket. Tom Selleck sent flowers. And Russell Crowe called from Australia. I've been in this business a long time and to feel that love was really touching," he said. Leno has long been a connoisseur of car culture . He worked as a mechanic while rising through the ranks as a stand-up comedian, and he now owns more than 280 unique vehicles. The impressive collection of rare, antique and vintage cars is reportedly worth between $50 million to $100 million. On "Jay Leno's Garage," Leno chats with car enthusiasts about favorite makes and models in addition to showing off his prized collection of cars, motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles.