Owners plan to rebuild

“I’m not willing to give it up. My plan is to re-open”
Courtney Astolfi
Feb 20, 2014


A fire gutted Milan’s iconic pizza shop early Wednesday morning, but Jim’s Pizza Box owner Jim West is determined to begin anew.

“We start rebuilding today” West said.

On Wednesday afternoon, a swarm of family members, well-wishers and Milan residents gathered behind Jim’s Pizza Box in a show of support as state fire marshals investigated the blaze.

Click HERE to help with the rebuilding effort by purchasing a t-shirt

West emerged from the charred shop’s back door, emotional and exhausted. He has owned and operated the place for 36 years and in just an hour’s time, it was almost entirely gone.

Click HERE for more photos of the interior

“It was my life,” West said, taking a moment to regain his composure.

Just 10 hours prior, at 2 a.m., a patrolling Milan police officer noticed the shop’s front windows were blackened and alerted dispatchers.

Twenty-four Milan Township firefighters soon descended on the scene, eventually aided by 10 firefighters from Norwalk and Huron Township.    It took them a short while to knock down the brunt of the blaze, then about an hour to extinguish the whole thing, Milan Township fire chief Brian Rospert said.

The fire took root in one of the shop’s storage rooms, devouring its contents and spreading into the ceiling, Rospert said.

The flames were essentially contained to that area of the restaurant, but extreme heat and smoke penetrated the rest of the shop, Rospert said.

“The fire was burning up in the ceiling for quite some time and the heat kept building up” Rospert said.

Some smoke did travel into the upstairs apartments, but it was minor and everyone escaped without injury, Rospert said.

Given the fire, smoke, heat and water damage, almost nothing inside Jim’s Pizza Box was salvageable. Officials estimated $350,000 in losses.

The Ohio State Fire Marshal ruled the fire’s cause “undetermined” on Wednesday afternoon. West, meanwhile, speculated it was caused by a faulty electrical fixture inside the storage room.

Despite a ravaged interior, the brick-and-mortar skeleton of Jim’s Pizza Box endures. With a little encouragement from relatives, West plans to rebuild.

“I’m not willing to give it up. My plan is to re-open” he said.

West mentioned no timeline of when that may come to pass, but sooner or later, one way or another, the scent of freshly-baked dough will waft across the village square once more.



Good luck homie


You can't keep a good man and his family down. You have my financial and any personal assistance whenever needed.

You and your family have been supportive of all those in need in the Milan and Huron communities .

At time to lean on us.


Wonderful guy and my prayers go out to all.......wondering why people have started the tshirt sales to raise funds to support the rebuild? Did he not have insurance to cover this?


Where can I purchase a T-shirt?


I've seen three different shirts posted to Facebook. One is being done by Kelly Graphics it appears.

O Really

Good Luck. I am sure your insurance will take good care of you!



Dr. Information

Here comes the jealousy!

T. A. Schwanger


You got this Jim.

Kottage Kat

T-shirts far more to show a communities support and respect for a family who has given so much.
Just giving back in some small way.
Buy T-shirt OK.
Kat says " Hiss on all those negative folks"
Hurry back Jim, yo da man.


Jim is a great man and has done a lot for the community he will be just fine his oldest son is an insurance agent and financial planner I'm sure he'll help his dad out :)