Whitehaven’s famed fish and chip shop Arrighi’s will be closed for the foreseeable future after a fire in its premises.

The takeaway and restaurant have suffered extensive smoke damage, as has the flat above where owner Carla Arrighi lives.

The fire broke out on Saturday morning as Carla was setting up prior to lunchtime opening.

She called the fire brigade and says she was lucky that an appliance was passing and could be on the scene in minutes.

As firefighters put out the flames in the shop, their colleagues also rescued Carla’s dog, a Shih Tzu called Morse, who was in the flat upstairs.

As The Whitehaven News went to press, specialist investigators were on site trying to find the cause of the fire.

“I am absolutely distraught,” said Carla. “This is a family business, we’ve been here since 1908, and there are pictures and things which were my dad’s and grandad’s. They can’t be replaced.”

Carla took to Facebook to praise the emergency services and show her gratitude to friends and neighbours.

She said: “With all that is happening in the country my issues seem insignificant, and it probably is. I just wanted to thank the fabulous firefighters and their kindness, also to thank the people that have offered support. I will never forget.”

Firefighters were on scene for about two hours and used two hose reel jets, four breathing apparatus, two thermal imaging cameras, a specialist extinguisher and a positive pressure ventilation fan to extinguish the fire.

Arrighis was first opened in Whitehaven’s Market Place by Giuseppe and Catherine Arrighi.

She ran the shop while he also worked in the nearby Wellington mine.

In 2013 Carla, a former air stewardess and clothes shop owner, created the Seafood Restaurant and Wine Bar upstairs at the premises.

She is the third generation of Arrighis to run the business.