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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    Hey Jay, Best wishes for a quick recovery from a fellow 7-Litre owner. Hope you heal up fast. Love all your cars and you!

    Wishing you a speedy recovery Jay. Your Monday JL’sG youtube videos are a highlight of my week. You bring much needed grace and levity to the auto-obsessed like myself.

    Jay, I wish you all the very best. A speedy full recovery from this accident so you can get back to the cars.
    Take care

    Get well soon Jay my hp son Robby and I love your show and especially your car collection . Have known you far back as when you worked for Tom Mix at Foreign Motors West doing stand up comedy in Boston way back get well soon please and continue on JAY .

    Praying for a complete recovery! We need you back in that garage! You are living what most of us dream about!

    Oh Jay, that’s a terrible thing to have happen. You and your cars make the rest of us feel as if it’s as much our garage as yours. Get well soon.

    Jay ,all of us car guys aspire to be even 10 percent of what are as a car guy.I’m a 73 year old car guy praying for your total and quick recovery,love all your programs.One of my bucket list is to visit your garage.

    Hope you fully recover and get back doing what I know you love to do, your a good man who helps others, and a man everyone wants to be, wish you luck to a full and quick recovery, Mr Jay

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