FIREFIGHTERS have warned the public not to tackle blazes single-handedly after a man suffered from smoke inhalation.

Four fire crews from Caversham Road, Wokingham Road, Dee Road and Whitley Wood were deployed to Kennet Street at around 1am on Friday.

It is believed that the fire was started by an electrical fault in a cupboard on the third floor of the high-rise building.

Emergency services battled for more than two hours to clear the smoke and evacuate families from the apartments.

James Dowd, watch manager for Caversham Road, said: "Four fire crews attended Kennet Street in the early hours and we were until about 3.20am.

"There are five storeys in the central block, with eight storeys at either end.

"There were precautions that we had to take. It was a block of flats and there are difficulties with figthing fires above ground, in terms of getting the resources to the source.

"The nearest determination we could make was that the fire was caused by an electrical fault in a cupboard on the third floor, but we got everyone out safely.

"Most of our time was spent clearing the smoke."

Emergency services found an unknown male in the building and have warned the public to evacuate flat fires and alert the fire service as soon as possible.

Firefighter Jon Gray from Dee Road said: "We would like to put a message out to the public not to tackle fires and just to get out and call the fire brigade.

"A man tried to tackle the fire and he suffered smoke inhalation from a different flat.

"It was quite a big job and because it was a high-rose fire it was very resource-heavy."

Fire crews from across Berkshire were sent to Coley on Sunday afternoon after a rubbish fire broke out in the stairwell.

The crews discovered rubbish set alight on the fourth floor stairwell, which caused smoke to billow as high as the 13th floor.