Abbotsford Flood Response Updates

In an effort to keep our customers updated on the situation at our Abbotsford BigSteelBox location, we will post updates as we have them. Our team is doing their very best to get affected customers access to their containers and we truly appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate this difficult situation.


Thursday, December 23, 2021
  • As of 4:00 pm on December 23, 2021, evacuation alerts were rescinded for properties in the Sumas Prairie, Clayburn Village and Matsqui Village. This area includes the BigSteelBox Abbotsford storage yard.



Friday, December 17, 2021
  • The process of moving and delivering containers that were affected by the flood to the secondary access site is progressing as planned.
  • Some customers of affected containers are still reaching out to set up times to access their containers or have them delivered. It is our priority to service affected customers as quickly as possible.
  • BigSteelBox is providing free labour and disposal services for any items that cannot be salvaged. Affected customers can arrange this with their assigned customer service representative.


Thursday, December 9, 2021
  • Evacuation orders have been rescinded for much of the area around Abbotsford, but an evacuation order is still in place for our location on the Sumas First Nation. However, we received permission from the Sumas First Nation to resume operations, which allowed us to have an operational forklift delivered to the yard on December 8. We have already begun the process of moving affected containers in preparation for relocating them to our temporary customer access location.
  • Sorting through containers, loading them onto trucks, and moving them to the new site will take time, but we will be working through the weekend to get it done as soon as possible. Fencing has already been installed at the temporary location and security will be on site as soon as containers begin to arrive.
  • Priority access and deliveries will be given to customers whose containers were on the ground when the yard was flooded. Other Abbotsford customers whose containers were not affected but still wish to inspect their belongings are welcome to call us at 1-800-373-1187 to arrange delivery or a set out of their container at our yard. *Please note that we may be able to accommodate deliveries as early as the week of December 20, 2021, however, set-outs and yard visits will likely not happen until early January, 2022.*
  • We’d like to remind all customers of affected containers that their stored items have likely been in contact with contaminated water, which could cause injury or sickness. We urge them to take precautions and wear personal protective equipment (PPE) before opening their container.
  • If you were notified that your container was affected by the flood waters, but have not yet received an email or phone call from your BigSteelBox representative, please email the name on your BigSteelBox account and contact information to so that we can connect you with your representative.


Friday, December 3, 2021
  • The evacuation order is still in place for our location on the Sumas Prairie, and we must wait for it to be lifted by the Sumas First Nation in order to receive operational equipment and trucks to our yard to start moving containers.
  • You can monitor active evacuation orders and find updates regarding evacuation orders on the Government of BC Emergency Map BC, and the City of Abbotsford website.
  • We can confirm that the water that flooded our yard was considered “Category 3”, which means it was highly contaminated due to waste, debris, and other possibly toxic materials from the surrounding area that were caught in the water as a result of the flood.
  • Shipping containers are built to withstand intense weather, such as rain, wind and snow, as well as water from crashing waves while they are in transport on the ocean. What they are not built for, however, is being submerged in several feet of standing water for extended periods of time. After inspection of a few containers that were under water on our site, it’s highly likely that water found its way into all containers that were on the ground level.
  • A BigSteelBox team member will be contacting all customers with containers that were affected by the flood waters by Wednesday, December 8, to discuss their options and make a plan for them to safely access their stored contents.
  • We know this will be devastating news for many affected customers who will have lost important, treasured and valuable items in this catastrophic event. Our hearts truly go out to them, and we promise to help them through this very challenging time.


Tuesday, November 30, 2021
  •  A ‘Rainfall Warning’ has been in effect in Abbotsford for most of today, and is expected to last until Wednesday, Dec 1.
  • Water levels are rising in some areas of Abbotsford as the result of the rain, however, this has not yet impacted our storage yard.
  • Due to the ongoing evacuation order, we have not yet been able to get operational equipment to the yard in order to begin moving containers.
  • Note for Moving Customers: Due to highway closures as a result of the floods, we estimate that there will be delays of up to 14 business days for moves entering or leaving the Lower Mainland.


Monday, November 29, 2021
  • Highway #1 through Abbotsford was open to local and essential traffic for a few days last week, but has since been closed again due to the rain that hit the area on the weekend. DriveBC will provide an update tomorrow.
  • The evacuation order for the Sumas First Nation land is still in effect. We still do not have a timeline for the lifting of the evacuation order.
  • The timing and our ability to relocate BigSteelBox delivery trucks from other locations to Abbotsford for the movement of the containers will now depend on the re-opening of Highway #1.


Friday, November 26, 2021
  • The evacuation order for the Sumas First Nation land is still in effect. We are checking in with our contacts at the First Nation regularly to stay on top of changes to this order as they happen, but we do not currently have a timeline for the lifting of the evacuation order.
  • We have secured a temporary lease on a secondary location close to our Abbotsford store that will enable us to set out more containers at one time for customers to access and assess their contents. This temporary location will have fencing in place and a security guard present 24-hours a day, to ensure the containers and their contents are well protected.
  • As soon as the evacuation order is lifted by the Sumas First Nation, we will have a rental forklift delivered to the yard to start moving containers to the temporary location, and delivering them to customers’ homes. We are relocating BigSteelBox delivery trucks from other locations to Abbotsford to ensure expedient movement of the containers.
  • We understand the importance of giving you access to your container as soon as possible and keeping you updated on the situation. Please know that our team is doing everything they can to be fully ready to deploy our plans as soon as the evacuation order is lifted.


Thursday, November 25, 2021
  • Because our yard is located on Sumas First Nation land, we must receive confirmation that the evacuation order has been lifted for this location from them. Once they confirm the evacuation order is lifted, we will have a rental forklift delivered as soon as possible and begin to sort through the containers and provide access to our customers.
  • We recognize that some customers will want to access their container at our yard, and some will want to have the container delivered to their home or an alternate address. We will deliver any of the flood-affected containers to addresses inside the city limits of Abbotsford, Langley, or Chilliwack, free of charge.
  • Affected customers received an email requesting information on how they wish to access their container. If you are an affected customer and you did not receive that message, please email your contact information to


Tuesday, November 23, 2021
  • We were able to document the serial numbers of the ground-level containers that sustained contact with standing water.
  • Customers whose container was either located on the ground level or experienced significant movement as a result of the flood have been notified and will be given priority access to assess the content of their containers as soon as the Sumas First Nation lifts the evacuation order on our yard.
  • The current challenges we’re facing in regards to container access is that the evacuation order for the area is still in place, Highway 1 remains closed, and all of our yard equipment (trucks and forklifts) is not operational.
  • We are working to get new equipment to the yard so that we can start moving containers around to allow access once the evacuation order has been lifted.
  • A BigSteelBox Storage Consultant will contact customers directly to schedule a time for you to visit the yard.
  • Once customers are able to access their container, and if they find that their items have been damaged, the next step would be for them to contact their contents insurance company to open a claim. We recommend that they contact your insurance company now to confirm the information they will require to open a claim.


Friday, November 19, 2021
  • Earlier this week we informed Abbotsford customers that our BigSteelBox Abbotsford location was affected by the flooding, and that we would do our best to keep you updated as we were able to assess the situation in more detail.
  • The situation is still very dynamic, with Highway 1 remaining closed and the continued risk that water levels could rise again.
  • We had an opportunity to enter the location late this week after the floodwaters receded and we have documented the serial numbers for the containers that would have had sustained contact with the water. We are currently in the process of connecting those serial numbers to the customers that have them on rent, and we expect to start reaching out to those customers early next week.


Tuesday, November 16, 2021
  • An email was sent to Abbotsford customers who currently have a container stored at our Abbotsford yard to let them know that our yard was impacted by the flood on November 15, 2021.
  • Most ground-level containers are partially submerged in a few feet of standing water at this time.
  • We’re still under an evacuation order, so we have not been able to visit the yard in person. When the evacuation order has been lifted and it is safe for our team to return, we’ll be doing a full investigation.
  • We estimate that only 20% of the containers in our yard will have been affected, however, we cannot assume possible damage at this time. As soon as the water recedes and we are able to get into the yard to assess the situation, we will be noting all containers that may have been impacted by the flood.
  • We’ll then reach out to affected customers to notify them and arrange a time for them to visit the yard and inspect their items.
  • We understand that this is a very stressful situation for you, and we will do our very best to ease that stress with regards to your stored container.