BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — University of Vermont officials say a prized collection of flowers and fungi was spared from a fire that hit Torrey Hall thanks to upgraded storage units purchased three years ago.

Curator Dave Barrington tells the Burlington Free Press (http://bfpne.ws/2wuP0iS ) the collection would've been incinerated if the National Science Foundation hadn't help purchase new containers that reduce the possibility of damage from fire, water and pests.

The Pringle Herbarium stored over 300,000 prized specimens from Vermont and other locations dating to the 19th and 20th centuries.

Officials say most specimens remain intact after the fire was started by construction workers soldering copper on the building's exterior. Damage to the building that was constructed in 1863 and is on the National Register of Historic Places is still being evaluated.

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Information from: The Burlington Free Press, http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com