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
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    Jay you are our last hope in the car community. We pray that you recover and return to your garage for more outstanding videos that we all love. You are the best!

    Last hope?? What does that mean? He’s a former celebrity mechanic wannabe that hurt himself by not following safety procedures. His negligence could have caused others to be hurt. I have no sympathy for “the last hope.” (whatever that means)

    Jay Leno => class act. Didn’t wear his celebrity status. Mixed it up with the “commoners” at any car meet (or Bobs Big boy).
    Get well quick!

    Hang in there, Jay.
    Get some rest and relaxation.
    Your cars and your fans will be there when you’re all healed up.
    In the meantime, we will be praying for your speedy recovery.

    From one Jay to another. I’ve never met a “Jay” that I didn’t like. You are on the top of the list. (Heard Murph’s law paid you a visit). Hope you the best through your healing up process. Get better soon! and thank you for the comedy, cars, and bikes over the years! Jay in Nebraska,

    Hey Jay, you got Mavis’ attention again. You’ll be making most of us reap the rewards for working alone in our garages without an inter-com. Glad George was nearby and hopefully was able to save the 1907 White. How’s the staff keeping you hydrated? I have my own preferences and they don’t include IV’s. Seriously take care, as we need you for a while longer. Love always

    What a frightening experience! Glad you made it safely and quickly to the burn center. Wishing you a speedy recovery!

    I wish Jay a speedy recovery. We often see him at San Marino Motor Classic and Pebble Beach. I hope Hagerty lets him know we are posting good wishes here too.

    Third degree burns are very serious, but thankfully there was no eye/ear damage. Here’s to a speedy recovery and your next drive in the White Steam Car.

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