A BLOCK of flats had to be evacuated after a sweet potato sparked a kitchen fire this morning.

Firefighters were called to the Merlin Lodge flats on Southcote Lane earlier today.

Watch manager Jim Fernie at Dee Road fire station said the flats had three communal kitchens, one of each floor.

"Because of the nature of the building no one was sure if other people were in there," he said.

"We treated it like there were missing people. We sent in two teams with breathing apparatus.

"Everyone had made it out when we arrived. The kitchen was 80 to 90 per cent damaged."

Hallways around the kitchen were damaged by smoke.

He said the fire was caused after a sweet potato was left in the microwave for too long.

He warned people not to leave cooking unattended, even in a microwave.

Fire crews from Dee Road, Whitley Wood and Wokingham Road were called to the scene at 10.45.