Football player describes running through flames to escape fire

Jared Leaf suffered second and third degree burns after he was forced to run through flames and smoke to escape a fire.
Monday, June 16, 2014
A San Jose State university football player who made the run of his life is sharing what it was like to be trapped, and facing a wall of flames inside his burning home.

"To a degree, we are all sheltered and nave until an experience opens our eyes," Jared Leaf said.

It is fair to say that Leaf has had such an experience. On April 24, the San Jose State linebacker escaped a fire by running through the flames and smoke in a three-bedroom apartment.

There was no time and no other way out of that third floor unit.

"Ran through the door and then basically ran through blackness, and then just red and orange and light heat and just ran through basically a wall of fire," Leaf said.

He emerged out the other side intact, alive, aware, but very badly burned with deep second and third degree burns on his hands, face, back and torso.

"The first time I saw him he was intubated and he was covered up like a mummy," his mom, Kirsten Hall said. "He looked like the invisible man."

For five weeks, Hall slept in a mobile home in the hotel parking lot and waited through the pain of Leaf's treatments, which included skin graft surgery.

And now, recovery at home, less than two miles from the Alhambra High School football field where Leaf earned a Division 1 scholarship.

He does plan to play again. But this kid who was seared by fire will do so with a broader perspective.

"They always say that people at our age think they're invincible, and it's really true, like, you never think that something like that can happen," Leaf said. "Then all of a sudden you're stuck in a burning building with only one way out. It puts things in perspective."
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