Jay Leno is telling his side of the fiery Burbank garage story. A little over a month ago, the veteran comedian’s vintage 1907 White Steam Car exploded after a fuel line got clogged. He suffered “serious” third-degree burns to his face and hands. “When you work with cars, you have a lot of accidents,” the 72-year-old admitted. “But this is bigger than most.” Leno was rushed to Grossman Burn Center where he underwent skin graft surgery and was put into a hyperbaric chamber.

Gasoline got onto Leno’s face and hands, and at the same time a fuel leak and spark occurred igniting an explosion. This caused the comedian to go up into flames. According to the FDA, hyperbaric oxygen therapy “involves breathing 100% (pure) oxygen while in a special space called a hyperbaric chamber. The air pressure inside is raised to a level that is higher than normal air pressure. 

The increased air pressure in the chamber helps the lungs collect more oxygen. Getting more oxygen to the tissues that need it can help the body heal and fight certain infections.” “I got a face full of gasoline,” Leno recalled. “I knew how close I was to the pilot light and I thought ‘Uh oh.’” He described it as the most “intense sunburn” he’s ever had.

When talking about the vintage car he was working on, Leno said, “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 continued to describe the horrific scene of the accident.

“It felt exactly like my face was on fire,” Leno recalled. “Maybe like the most intense sunburn you’ve ever had, that’d be fair to say.” The former ‘Tonight Show’ host said he knew he had to close his eyes and mouth as to not “scorch” his lungs or lose an eye.

Paramedics arrived on scene within minutes and he was rushed to the hospital. The following he was admitted to the Grossman Burn Center. “When he came in, his burns were deeper than I anticipated,” said Dr. Peter Grossman, Leno’s surgeon. “Jay is definitely an outlier in terms of how well he’s healed considering the severity of his injuries.”

“I was under the car maybe 10 seconds before Dave pulled me out. Any longer than that I could have lost my eye,” Leno detailed. The TV personality smothered his face into his friend Dave’s work shirt until the flames on his face and body subsided.

Throughout Leno’s recovery, Dr. Grossman explained that his patient was in great spirits, making other hospital patients laugh and optimistic. “His injuries are serious, his condition is good,” Dr. Grossman said last month, adding that Leno “did well” during the first surgery. He described Leno as being in “good spirits.” Leno was up walking around and even cracking jokes, according to his doctor.


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