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Originally published Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 12:14 AM

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Fundraiser descends after 113 nights on roof

Carol Schillios accepted a ride Saturday from an Edmonds Fire Department ladder truck down from the rooftop perch where she spent the past 113 nights to raise money for charity.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Information online

Carol Schillios' Web site: www.upontheroofwithcarol.org

Fabric of Life Foundation: fabricoflife.org

Even when last week's storms threatened to shred her flimsy shelter, even when gallons of water poured in through a leak in the plastic tarp overhead, Carol Schillios was sure she was doing the right thing.

Just before 2 p.m. Saturday, to the beat of African drums and the cheers of some 75 onlookers, Schillios accepted a ride from an Edmonds Fire Department ladder truck down from the rooftop perch where she spent the past 113 nights to raise money for charity.

"I don't regret a single second," Schillios said. "I feel privileged. All I had to deal with was storms, and I knew I could come down. I thought about the homeless, who have no structures, who live under the freeway or wherever they can."

The Fire Department closed a block-long stretch of Main Street as firefighters lifted Schillios, 57, into a basket on the end of a ladder unit and placed her down in the middle of the street, where she immediately joined dancers moving to an African beat.

Schillios said her efforts raised about $92,000 — a far cry from her original hope of $1 million — and she repeated her standard line that "the wind blew away one of the zeros," causing her early on to revise her fundraising goal to $100,000.

The donations, she said, will aid a school for homeless girls in Mali, a clinic in a remote area of Nepal and other causes Schillios supports through sales at her year-old downtown Edmonds import shop, Fabric of Life.

Since July 31, Schillios has spent every night, and most of each day, camped atop the one-story shop in a shelter of aluminum poles, plastic tarps and a nylon tent. She outfitted the shelter with a small table for her laptop computer, a few chairs and a portable commode.

As she left the encampment yesterday, Schillios said that when she first went up on the roof, she hadn't set a target date for the end of her unusual campaign.

"But I feel it has run its course now," she said.

"And my greater work is on the ground."

The assembly of tarps and poles would likely have blown off the roof any number of times if it hadn't been anchored to a heavy plywood base that supporters put down on the roof before Schillios began her adventure.

Onlookers Saturday included Tim Morris, owner of the Epulo Bistro, which opened two weeks ago directly across the street from Schillios' shop.

"It's great," Morris said. "It's been a real object of curiosity for our customers. I sent her a bottle of champagne last night, and I've offered to have her over for a warm meal."

Jack Broom: 206-464-2222 or jbroom@seattletimes.com

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