Published Sunday, 14 October 2012
Fire and Rescue Service crews are at the scene of the blaze on Pound Lane. (© UTV)
The blaze at St John's House in Pound Lane was reported to the Fire and Rescue Service at 3.45pm on Sunday.
Four pumping appliances and an aerial appliance were sent to the derelict care home which is beside the town's old doctor's surgery.
Police are treating the blaze as suspicious and three boys are being held on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life.
Residents in the Pound Lane area have been asked to remain indoors and the surrounding area has been closed to traffic.
Margaret Ritchie, SDLP MP for the area, said: "The fire at this vacant site has put people in a nearby residential area at risk and I urge anyone with information regarding the fire to get in touch with the PSNI.
"This incident has the potential to set back economic investment in this site which will help bring investment and job creation to the Downpatrick area," she added.