"We were told things were taken care of, and then we find out they were not taken care of", said resident Sabine Nagasawa.
Puna supplies 25% of the Big Island's power, and had been built smack in the rift zone of Kilauea. The building was owned by the state and was used in geothermal research projects in the early days of the site.
"The Puna Geothermal Venture had always been contentious on the island, the Associated Press reported, with some native Hawaiians saying that it desecrated Kilauea, where the goddess of fire, Pele, is said to live".
Lava destroyed a building near the plant, bringing the total number of structures overtaken in the past several weeks to almost 50, including dozens of homes.
The plant's wells run 6,000 to 8,000 feet (1,830-2,438 meters) underground to tap into extremely hot water and steam used to run turbines and produce electricity. Earlier this month, officials removed 50,000 gallons (190,000 liters) of the gas from the plant to reduce the chance of explosions. Pele, the goddess of fire, is believed to live on Kilauea, and the plant is thought by certain elements to desecrate her name, the Associated Press reports.
The plant's owner, Ormat Industries, sent a soothing message to investors just a week ago, but now the lava has arrived.
Besides explosive eruptions from the summit, Kilauea is oozing lava into neighborhoods about 25 miles (40 kilometers) away. It is responsible for 4.5% of Ormat's total geothermal power production worldwide.
The latest back-to-back upheavals of ash from the main summit crater of Kilauea - one before dawn and another several hours later - came on the 21st day of what geologists rank as one of the biggest eruption cycles in a century from one of the world's most active volcanoes.
On the volcano's east flank, almost two-dozen fissures are producing 15,000 tons a day of toxic sulfur dioxide, a level "much higher than seen in recent times", Bravender said.
Scientists say lava from Kilauea is causing explosions as it enters the ocean, which can look like fireworks. One man was seriously injured after being hit by a flying piece of lava. Large steam plumes created lava haze, or "laze", laced with hydrochloric acid and fine glass shards when it flowed into the sea.
Residents have been concerned about hazards if lava flowed over the plant's facilities or if the molten rock heated chemicals at the plant.