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Jay Leno opens up about dangerous burn accident: ‘It felt exactly like my face was on fire’

Jay Leno performs at The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize tribute concert at DAR Constitution Hall on March 4, 2020, in Washington, D.C. (Shannon Finney/Getty Images/TNS)

Jay Leno is revealing the shocking details of his recent alarming burn accident.

”It felt exactly like my face was on fire,” he told People magazine in an interview published Tuesday. “Maybe like the most intense sunburn you’ve ever had, that’d be fair to say.”

Leno, 72, said he was working on one of his many cars, a 1907 White Steam Car, when things went wrong Nov. 12.

”With a steam car, you have gasoline, but you also have a vaporizer which is heated by a pilot light to turn water into steam,” he told People.

Leno said when air was pushed into a clogged fuel line, gasoline came pouring out onto his face.

“I knew how close I was to the pilot light and I thought, ‘Uh-oh,’” he recounted.

The funnyman’s face caught fire, leaving him with serious burn injuries and sending him to the hospital for several days. But somehow during the traumatic incident, Leno kept his cool.

“I’m not a panicky guy, but I knew if I breathed in, I could scorch my lungs,” Leno told People. “I was under the car maybe 10 seconds before Dave pulled me out. Any longer than that I could have lost my eye.”

He was referring to chum Dave Killackey, who was working on the auto with him.

Leno was back doing stand-up less than two weeks after the incident.


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