Update: Jay Leno suffers “serious” burns in car fire

TV personality Jay Leno from "Jay Leno's Garage" poses for a portrait at the NBCUniversal Summer Press Day during the 2015 Summer TCA Tour at The Beverly Hilton on August 13, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. Christopher Polk/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Jay Leno “could have died in the fire that erupted in his Burbank garage—it was that serious—and we’ve learned it was a friend of his who may have saved his life,” reports TMZ.

“Jay tells TMZ from his hospital bed that he was working on his 1910 White Steam Car [below] in his famed garage this past Saturday, fixing a clogged fuel line. He says there was a fuel leak and gasoline sprayed on his face and hands. Almost simultaneously a spark triggered an explosion, setting the comedian on fire. Jay, who was rushed to a nearby burn center by ambulance, says he expects to be hospitalized for somewhere between 5 and 10 days.”

Leno said his “quick-thinking buddy Dave was right there and jumped on him, quickly smothering the flames. The left side of Jay’s face was badly burned … His hands were burned as well. He says he’s now dealing with third-degree burns and may need skin grafts. The burns did not damage his eyes or his ears.”

Steam cars use gasoline or kerosene to fuel the burner, which heats the boiler, to generates the steam needed to propel the car.

Leno is now in an L.A. burn center. He was in his Burbank garage in California where he stores his massive car collection when the fire happened. He was listed in stable condition as of this writing.

“I got some serious burns from a gasoline fire. I am OK,” reads a statement from Leno to Variety. “Just need a week or two to get back on my feet.”

He was taken to the burn ward at Grossman Burn Center in Los Angeles where he remains. Grossman Burn Centers “are plastic surgery-based medical centers of excellence specializing in the comprehensive treatment of burns—from acute care and reconstruction, to rehabilitation and psychological counseling,” says the Center’s website.

TMZ says Leno has cancelled all his engagements for two weeks. He was supposed to appear at the Financial Brand Forum on Sunday at the Aria in Las Vegas, but organizers said there was a “very serious medical emergency” that prevented him from showing.

Leno, 72, is of course the standup comic who hosted the Tonight Show on NBC until he retired to pursue his car-collecting hobby full-time. His knowledge of automobiles and motorcycles is near-encyclopedic. (He also owns multiple steam cars besides the 1910 White.) He hosts Jay Leno’s Garage on CNBC, and a remake of Groucho Marx’s You Bet Your Life that is in syndication.

We’ll update the story as more information comes in. We wish our columnist and friend a speedy recovery.

Jay leno mckeel hagerty fawn over jeff peek triumph spitfire
Jay Leno at Hagerty’s Traverse City, Michigan, headquarters for a Friday morning cars and coffee with McKeel Hagerty. Jeff Peek
Click below for more about
Read next Up next: Indy’s wildest, most grueling contest is a three-hour, figure-8 race


    Wishing you much joy, health, happiness, and a speedy recovery. Thank you for your humor; automotive enthusiasm, big heart, fantastic garage, fantastic interviews, and for your sharing of your life (and cookies) with all of us, throughout eternity.

    I got to meet the true motorhead at Monterey in ’95 when I was one of over 400 Lotus owners celebrating our favorite marque. You were gracious and friendly and ‘one of us.’ We’re both of an era. I hope you’ll heal well and quickly and just keep on enjoying our common passion for these things. We’d like to have you around for a good long while.

    Hello Jay, I was so sorry to hear of your accident. So glad you are recovering from that terrible incident. Please take care of your self, we need you to be around for many more years. I’m sure your wife was upset as she should be, tell her you’re never going to do it again , that usually works, at least for me .

    “A friend in need is a friend indeed” Thank God that he was there for you!! Looking forward to your fast recovery!!
    From one car “nut” to another.

    Why was serious in quotations? The headline made me think that they weren’t actually serious, like it was a joke or something. Headline: Update: Jay Leno suffers “serious” burns in car fire

    pray for a quick recovery jay – you have a lot of love from a lot of people coming to you. Quite blessed in that regard. most people in the world don’t have that.

    Dear Mr. Leno, my husband and I are praying for your speedy recovery, do not get discouraged, progress may be slow, just remember “every day is a new day, and every day is a new adventure” as you heal. This is what I told my husband when he had a stroke in 2017 and he has made a great recovery and able to do lots of things including driving again. We love cruising around in my 1985 Chevrolet Classic Pick up named “Salymae.” I bought her new in Phoenix. She used to be tan color, now she is bright yellow with ghost flames encased in the SS stripes. She had a 305 now she has 350 and is clean under the hood. We love cruising around in Washington State. Prayers for your complete healing!

    KUDOS on your release Jay ! You look great however not the George Clooney look Tim was stating you were going after….Welcome Home…Happy Thanksgiving….You have a lot to be thankful for…Never Stop Driving !

    Jay, this must have been a terrifying moment for you. Glad to hear your eyes are ok and recovery has begun. FYI no matter how hard you try different methods, the Steamer will never burn rubber or become a hot rod. Just saying. 🙄

    Glad you’re doing well. As an ED RN for many years have seen my share of people burned by gasoline as it is an explosive and ignited. Blessings to you and your family. Happy Thanksgiving ⛪️🙏

    Get well soon. Hopefully the rest of us can learn from your accident. Many of us have done things similar without thinking and been blessed that the same thing or worse hasn’t happened to us. You will always be admired and respected by those of us who enjoy vehicles and working on them ourselves. Thank you for everything you have done to keep the history of the automobile for future generations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *