The former late-night show host reveals he was ’10 seconds’ away from losing one of his eyes and had to hold his breath to avoid damaging his lung in the garage incident.
AceShowbiz –Jay Leno nearly lost an eye in a horrific car fire. Last month when the comedian was working on one of his vintage cars in his garage, he accidentally got covered in petrol which then set alight – and he’s revealed his sight was saved by a quick-thinking friend who was able to haul him out from under the vehicle.
“I was under the car maybe 10 seconds before [pal] Dave pulled me out. Any longer than that I could have lost an eye,” he told People magazine.
Jay also explained he saved himself further damage by holding his breath after the fire started. He added, “I’m not a panicky guy, but I knew if I breathed in, I could scorch my lungs. I got a face full of gasoline … It felt exactly like my face was on fire. Maybe like the most intense sunburn you’ve ever had.”
He spent almost two weeks in a specialist burns unit and underwent a series of skin graft surgeries. Jay was later able to go home and return to work but he’s refused to take any pain medication during his recovery. He explained of his decision, “The pain is a reminder that I’m an idiot.”
Jay went on to insist he won’t give up working on his beloved vintage cars and he refuses to whine about his accident. However, he feels touched by all the messages of support which have flooded in from fans. He said, “I’m never going to be a whiny celebrity. But I’ve been in this business a long time and to feel that love from people after this happened – that’s been really touching.”
And the 72-year-old comic has joked the accident has given his career a boost. He quipped, “It kind of gave my career a shot in the arm because it’s like ‘Let’s go see him before he burns up again.’ “
His first work commitment was playing to a crowd at the Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, California and Jay said it felt good to be back on stage again. He added, “It was really fun to be back at work again.”
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