HomeAmerican EntertainmentPeopleJay Leno Describes How His 1907 Steam Car Burst Into Flames

Jay Leno Describes How His 1907 Steam Car Burst Into Flames

by Joe Rutland
(Photo by Donald Kravitz/Getty Images)

Now that he’s healed from his burns, Jay Leno is out there talking about how his 1907 steam car burst into flames. He’s opening up for the first time after his steam engine blew up in his face. Leno was interviewed on Wednesday by TODAY Show host Hoda Kotb. He even showed photos of the scars on his face.

Leno, 72, and his friend Dave Killackey were working on one of his beloved vintage cars at his Los Angeles mansion on November 12. That’s when his 1907 White Steam Car erupted into flames. But Leno is quick to credit Killackey with saving his life. At one point, Killackey wrapped his arms around Leno, smothering the fire, DailyMail.com reports.

Jay Leno Points Out Clogged Fuel Line Was the Culprit in the Accident

The former Tonight Show was rushed to the Grossman Burn Center in West Hills Hospital in Los Angeles. Ultimately, Leno stayed there to get some work done and was released 10 days later. Leno spent time remembering the accident on the TODAY Show on Wednesday morning. 

“It was a 1907 white steam car,” Leno said. “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 said. “And then the pilot light jumped and my face caught on fire. … 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.”

Leno’s Friend Dave Killackey Talked About His Role In the Incident

For his part, Killackey, who also appeared on the TODAY Show, talked about his role in helping out Jay Leno. “I couldn’t see his face,” Killackey said. “It was a wall of fire. I grabbed his head and pulled him into my chest. I started to smother the fire.”

Killackey kept Leno’s body from being engulfed in flames. He then would go on and put out the car fire. He was asked by Kotb about how bad he thought Leno’s injuries were. Killackey said, ‘Well, it wasn’t good. He downplays it,” Killackey said while looking at Jay Leno. “But it was horrific. It was a scary thing. When the first two layers [of skin] are peeling off right now, this is an issue.” Dr. Peter Grossman told NBC News that Jay Leno suffered “relatively serious” burns to “approximately seven percent of his body.” That includes his face, chest, and hands. Grossman performed skin grafts on Leno.