PITTSFIELD - A 9-year-old Pittsfield boy is fighting for his life in a Boston hospital following a fire at 47 Merriam St. on Wednesday night.

The boy, whose name is being withheld by the Pittsfield Fire Department, is in critical condition in the pediatric intensive care unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, Pittsfield Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski said.

The boy is on a ventilator after suffering from smoke inhalation, Czerwinski said. There were no burns to his body, he said.

Pittsfield firefighters responded at about 8 p.m. Wednesday to the fire, which is believed to have started in the first floor kitchen.

The boy's father was cooking fried chicken for his son as a treat after returning from an overseas trip to Africa, Czerwinski said.

After starting to cook, the father went upstairs to his bedroom and then fell asleep, he said. The father was awakened to shouts from outside to the smoke. He jumped out his second-floor bedroom to the ground, about a 10-foot drop, Czerwinski said.

The father and a third occupant of the home, a 23-year-old friend of the family, then tried to climb a ladder to save the boy. Pittsfield firefighters arrived, stopped the men, and set their own ladder to climb to the bedroom.

Once there, the boy wasn't in the bedroom. Firefighters searched the second floor and found him in another room.

Firefighters lifted the boy up and handed him off to other firefighters awaiting on the front porch roof, Czerwinski said. The boy was initially transported to Berkshire Medical Center and then transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital.

There were four smoke detectors in the home, but three didn't have batteries, Czerwinski said.

"Had they had smoke detectors, they would have been out of there a lot sooner," Czerwinski said. "People need to check their smoke detectors before the holiday season."

Czerwinski said the young boy's chances are not known.

"We are going to hope he is going to make it," he said.

The two others who escaped the blaze "are alive by sheer luck," the chief said.

To reach Nathan Mayberg:nmayberg@berkshireeagle.comor (413) 496-6243