There was a mistaken alert in January that the rogue state had launched a ballistic missile attack on Hawaii which sent residents and tourists running for shelter.
The fear of an attack by the hermit state led to a community forum on preparing for emergencies to be organised and it took place just six days before Kilauea began erupting.
Chris Foy, 40, who paid just $200,000 (£147,793) for his 1,900-square-foot (177-square-metre) house on a quarter acre (0.1 hectare) by one of the Big Island’s best surfing beaches said: “I knew I was getting the ‘lava discount.”
He said he expects it is worth half that, a risk he knew he was taking and why he could buy his house in paradise so cheaply.
Kilauea, one of five volcanoes on the Big Island, has been erupting nearly continuously since 1983. Residents are used to seeing the mountain belch smoke and ash and oozing lava from the summit.
But on Friday the floor of the crater collapsed and the lava flowed into a labyrinth of lava tunnels under the mountain, extending under the residential communities around Kilauea, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at California Institute of Technology said on Monday.
Hawaii state Representative Joy San Buenaventura led the April 28 forum on disaster preparedness in the Pahoa community centre.
She said: “It was fortuitous that we had scheduled the forum, and I hope people took preparedness to heart.
“What we couldn’t prepare for was the amount and concentration of sulphur dioxide in the air.”
Prevailing winds on Monday blew the sulphur clouds, which officials have described as “extremely toxic,” away from the communities and out to sea.
This allowed Keith Brock and some 600 others to go back to their homes to retrieve belongings.
Mr Brock saw his backyard erupt as he arrived.
He said: “The sound was deafening, like 100 freight trains.
“Ground was bouncing up and down.”
“Last I heard, the house was gone. It’s OK; things come and go.”
Hawaii Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno said late on Monday there is still plenty of magma under the ground.
Aubrey Meyer, 49, said: “If your house isn’t lost, but you’re not able to use it or live in it?
“There’s so much uncertainty. That’s the worst thing.”