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


    We are pulling for you Jay! We all make mistakes and I’m thankful that you are on your way to recovery. Wipe your events calendar clean for a few months. Kick back and chill. South Florida is nice and the warm salt water would be good for healing. Lake Worth Beach is beautiful.

    Get well & back to the garage soon….you have the passion we all suffer/or benefit from….. cars, many cars, too many cars! (PS) You were the best on TV since Johnny C!!!! Haven’t watched late night TV since your departure.

    Saying a prayer for you Jay. I am glad it was not any worse than it was and we still have you here.

    Till you heal you can say what Burt said in Smokey and the Bandit. Frog said he has a great profile. Bandit replied yes I do especially from the side.

    Hope to see you back out on the show circuits soon.

    You know it is Tim Taylor on too lime is the one that is supposed to do this kind of stuff.

    All the very best wishes for a speedy recovery, Jay. I’m glad your sense of humor was not scorched. Take time to heal well and rest. Take care.

    I’ve been a welder all my life. I’m also 74 years old. I’ve had more than my shear of burns. One piece of advice Jay. Do exactly what the doctors tell you to do. They know what they’re talking about. One of those good doctors saved the four fingers on my right hand.

    This is what happens when we get too complacent about safety. How could this incident have been avoided? Where did the spark originate? Could that source of ignition have been neutralized before working on a flammable liquid line? Were safety glasses worn? I’m not kicking Mr. Leno when he is down, but this is a powerful example of what can happen when we act before thinking.

    Praying for your speedy recovery, Jay Leno. You are the real deal, buddy. I’m sure you’re keeping the hospital staff in stitches. Wait… did I say that? Hope to see you back under that steamer soon. By the way, a friend saw your monologue at Red Rocks a couple weeks ago and said you were fantastic. 🤗

    Best in your recovery J. Love your shoes and the cars. I smell a convert from gas to kerosene for the White!
    Frank Miller

    Wow, I thought Jay would have been more careful!
    Get better, Jay. We can’t afford to lose the best auto ‘aficionado’ out there!

    So sorry to hear about your recent accident and resulting injuries, Jay. Thank God that your quick thinking friend sprung into action and helped prevent more serious results. Wishing you a very speedy recovery, from a fellow car nut in Arizona!

Leave a Reply

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