Jay Leno is reflecting on the November accident that left him hospitalized with serious burns.
One month after the former Tonight Show host, 72, was injured in a gasoline fire while working on one of his collectible cars—sustained burns to his face, arms and hands—he is speaking out for the first time about the terrifying ordeal and his road to recovery.
“It was a 1907 White Steam Car,” Leno told Hoda Kotb in a Dec. 14 interview for Today. “The fuel line was clogged so I was underneath it. It sounded clogged and I said, ‘Blow some air through the line,’ and so he did.”
“And suddenly, boom, I got a face full of gas,” Leno continued. “And then the pilot light jumped and my face caught on fire.”
Luckily, Leno’s longtime friend Dave Killackey—who calls the incident “horrible”—was there to save his life. As Leno recalled, “I said to my friend, I said, ‘Dave, I’m on fire.’ And Dave’s like, ‘All right.’ I said, ‘No, Dave, I’m on fire.’ And then, ‘Oh, my God.’ Dave, my friend, pulled me out and jumped on top of me and kind of smothered the fire.”