Jay Leno’s burn injury will not keep him down.
The 72-year-old comedian appeared on “Today” with Hoda Kotb on Wednesday to discuss the events leading up to his Nov. 12 gasoline accident, which resulted in serious burns to his face, neck, and chest, and his subsequent recovery.
“I had to get on fire to get on the ‘Today’ show,” Leno joked at the start of the interview.
On the day of the incident, Leno’s friend Dave Killackey was by his side working on one of his vintage cars.
“It was a 1907 White Steam Car,” said Leno. “I was underneath the fuel line because it was clogged. It sounded clogged, so I told him to ‘blow some air through the line,’ which he did.”
He went on,
“And then, bang, I got a faceful of gas. The pilot light then jumped, and my face caught fire.”
Jay Leno was released from the hospital 10 days after a fire burned his face, neck, and chest.
“And I told my friend, Dave, that I was on fire. And Dave says, ‘All right.’ ‘No, Dave, I’m on fire,’ I said. ‘Oh, my God,’ she exclaimed. Dave, my friend, dragged me out and jumped on top of me, smothering the fire “Leno stated.
Killackey, who joined Leno for the interview, recalled smothering the flames by hugging him into his shirt and telling his friend to immediately pour cold water on his face while he sought help.
“I couldn’t make out his face. an an an an an an an an an an a, “Leno’s pal added. “He plays it down, but it was horrific.”
During a 10-day stay at the Grossman Burn Center, Leno’s injuries were treated with two surgeries. He underwent hyperbaric oxygen therapy to speed up his recovery from skin grafting procedures and to slow the progression of his burns.
The comedian said it was like laying in a “glass coffin” for eight hours a day. This type of therapy, according to the Mayo Clinic, involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurised environment.
Tim Allen’s phone call with Jay Leno and advice for his ‘Santa Clauses’ co-star, his daughter Kotb asked Leno if he was scared to see how he looked after the procedures, to which he joked:
“When you look like me, you don’t really care about your appearance. It would be a problem if I resembled George Clooney.”
“This happens to people all the time. I don’t want to be a whiny celebrity “Leno went on. “I have all these cars, a lovely home… and take a look at what happened to me. ‘Oh, stop talking!'”
Kotb also wondered if Leno has become “skittish” around cars since his accident. “Did I take anything away from this? Certainly not! “He remarked.
In a Nov. 14 statement, Leno confirmed the accident, saying he had “serious” burns and would need “a week or two to get back on my feet.”
During a press conference on Nov. 16, Dr. Peter Grossman provided updates on Leno’s condition, saying the comedian had “pretty significant burns” to his face, hands, and chest when he was pulled from under the car.
Leno’s initial burns were a combination of “deep second degree burns and possibly some third degree burns,” according to the doctor.