Eight fire engines rushed to James House, a 13 storey high rise in the Newtown area of the city.
People were seen on a balcony shouting for help after flames from a pushchair and other items that had been set alight spread from a stairwell at around 5.40pm today, the fire service said.
Fourteen residents, including children, were taken to hospital to be checked over for smoke inhalation as a precaution.
The evacuees were moved to temporary accommodation at a nearby community centre. Detectives and fire chiefs were tonight probing the cause of the blaze.
West Midlands Police said in a statement: ‘We’re working with colleagues to understand the cause of a fire that broke out in a Birmingham tower block this evening.
‘We were alerted to the fire by a resident in James House, Newtown Drive at 5.40pm.
‘It’s understood the fire started in a communal area or stairwell on the 10th floor. It was quickly extinguished and did not spread to any of the flats.
‘We’re currently on site alongside other emergency services and work has already started alongside fire investigators to understand how the fire started.’
West Midlands Fire Service said on Twitter tonight: ‘The fire at James House, Newtown, has been quickly extinguished by our crews however a number of residents had entered the lobby areas and were subsequently led to safety by our firefighters using our smoke hoods.
‘Four fire engines are still at the scene.’
More than 45 firefighters attended the tower block, with some staying at the scene for several hours after the flames were brought under control.