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Sept. 13, 2022

Bang Boom Burn With Retired AFT Agent- Wayne Miller

Bang Boom Burn With Retired AFT Agent- Wayne Miller

Wayne Miller was a Special Agent, Criminal Investigator and Certified Fire Investigator for the U. S. Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms for 25 years. He has been involved in numerous high profile criminal cases involving illegal firearms, bombings and arsons. He was also a member of the ATF National Response Team, responding to major fire and explosion incidents. For the past 17 years, in the private sector, Mr. Miller has been a fire and explosion analyst for the Massachusetts - based Wright Group, Inc. ​


During his career, Mr. Miller examined more than 2,300 fire and explosion scenes, responded to over twenty-five major incidents, as well as testified as an expert in more than forty cases in Federal and State courts in civil and criminal cases.


Hi everyone. And welcome to this week's episode of Enduring the Badge Podcast    , I'm host Jerry Dean Lund, and I don't want you to miss an upcoming episode. So please hit that subscribe button. And while your phone's out, please do me a favor and give us a review on iTunes or our apple podcast. It says, Hey, this podcast has a great message and we should send it out to more people.

So please take that 30 seconds to a minute to do that review. And just maybe by doing that, it'll push this up into someone's podcast feed that really needs this message. Before we jump into this next episode. I wanted to talk to you about something that I'm super passionate about. And that's my relationships, my relationships with my wife, my kids, my family, and those who surround me.

They are a priority to me, and I want them to know that. And I want them to know how much love and respect I have for them and how much I want them to succeed in life and reach their dreams and their truest potential that also comes. Changing my own personal mindset to trying to be the best person I can be.

If that's something that interests you go to enduring the badge podcast, and you look for the coaching tab and I will give you a 15 minute discovery call for free, or you can just leave me a little voice note. And it's a red icon of a microphone on the bottom of the webpage. And I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Now let's jump into my next episode with my very special. Wayne Miller, a former ATF agent and a two time book author and his books are incredible and tell some amazing stories. And Wayne's gonna give you some insight in writing those stories, but also his emotions behind writing those stories. And some of the toll took to work some major cases in his.

And it's not only the toll on him, but the toll it took on his family. You'll also definitely want to listen to this entire episode because Wayne leaks a little information about what's happening in his future. That's pretty exciting. I'm also gonna leak a little bit of information on this episode about what's happening with and during the badge and how I will be able to make a larger impact within enduring the badge in first responder lives and their families, as well as their businesses.

So now let's jump right into this episode. I grew up here in new England, in Rhode Island actually. And, uh, got hired by ATF in 1976. And I did 25 years. Right in the Boston office. Uh, started out doing some gun cases. I, I had a, uh, 46 M 16 seizure here in Massachusetts. And, uh, but I, I like. The fire business, ATF was just getting into it back in, uh, the late seventies.

So I volunteered for the ATRs and task force, which was formed in 1982. And from that point on, I did, uh, fires and explosions to the rest of my career there, and then another 18 years in the private side. And, uh, I just, I just love doing fires. Yeah, you must right to do, to do so many. And Wayne, you have two books as well, right?

I do after I retired, I wrote, I had a one case, uh, that, and the book is named burn Boston burn. The one case. Is about nine guys, including three cops and three firefighters that set 264 buildings on fire in and around Boston from 1982 to 1984, we had a, uh, tax cutting measure that, uh, laid Boston itself lost 600 firefighter positions and 22 fire companies were closed.

Wow. So these guys in a twisted version of Robin hood figured. Uh, let's see we'll burn buildings until they rehire everybody. So, uh, it took us over two years to catch these guys couple lucky breaks and some hard work. And then the second book is 21 short stories. There's a couple gun cases, including the, uh, machine gun case, some undercover work I did.

Um, Two bombing cases. One killed a Boston police officer, and the other one is a strange case out of, uh, New York state, a 50 year old guy dating a 30 year old. She was American Indian and her family did not like him whatsoever. Tried to break him up. So he sent six Christmas packages to her family members.

Four of 'em went off killing five people. Uh, and then, um, there's another dozen arts in cases are so in that book too, uh, quite a variety in that way. So yeah, that, that sounds very interesting. Um, let's talk about the, the burn Boston burn, is that right? Sure. That is, would it have to be really tough?

Probably eventually knowing you're gonna have to go after some police officers and some firefighters for doing this. How, how was that? Well, you know, it took a long time to identify these guys suspects, but once we did, um, you know, we went out, we knocked on the door of the Boston cop after he was seen observing of fire and.

We just went to him as cop to cop. You know, I said, uh, his name was GSKi Bobby G GSKi. I said, Bobby, you know, cop to cop, do you know anything about what's going on? And he just lied straight to our faces. He was not nervous. He was just, he, he did a great job in a sense. And, but in his living room was a stolen fire box.

You know, the kind of pull boxes. Uh, he had one of those and because of that, we ended up getting a, a local search. For stolen property. And my partner at the time, Billy Murphy, his father was the head of Boston internal affairs. Wow. And Billy used to be over Boston PD all the time. That's we adopt a lot of cases.

We, we work with them to get informants and everything else. Well, Boston cops who came with us for the search warrant said, okay, you got the fire box. Let's. Uh, they didn't want us to search anything else, even. So the warrant said we could search for any other writers.  that's one. And then his father-in-law told Billy, he said your persona, non GRA.

We don't want you around here anymore. Uh, you know, that's, that's the old story, you know? Yeah, yeah. Um, it, it was, it was difficult. And, uh, like I say, two other guys were Boston housing authorities. There's full police officers and, uh, it's tough talking to their bosses and talking to their family when these guys are cops and, uh, when it all came down, it was just amazing.

Golosky's the first one to confess by the. Wow. And, uh, and he wore a wire for us 17 times, which is all spelled out in the book. Uh, but he wore a wire meeting in person and everything else, and he did a great job undercover, uh, talking to these guys and lying to them, just like he lied to us. But, uh, it took a long time.

It, by the time we made the arrests was about two and a half years after the first. How, how did these guys meet to, to come up with this plan? Well, that's another aspect of their lives. Every one of 'em wanted to be a firefighter. Ah, even so the, uh, because three of the guys actually were firefighters too.

One was a full-time Boston, uh, firefighter. Um, but there used to be meeting places around the city, uh, for these guys that have fire buffs and fire bus. No different than, uh, uh, a sports enthusiast. They, their sport is, has to do with fires. Whether it's collecting memorabilia, some guys buy fire trucks, uh, photographs, uh, helmets, fire boxes.

Um, and then they liked to go to fire so they could watch firefighting operations and take photos, that type of thing. So these guys had that as a hobby and there was a parking lot where they all met and. They formed this militant faction. I mean, they're legitimate groups. We have the Boston spark.

Association's been around over a hundred years and box 52, another club. Uh, the famous Myro here in Boston. Arthur Fiedler, uh, led the, uh, orchestra here for years. He was one of the fire box, but. They're very legitimate people. They have organizations throughout the world. Uh, but these guys were a militant faction that, uh, you know, like the Boston tea party , you know, so that's how they met.

And, uh, they spoke amongst themselves when a couple devastating fires occurred because of the fire houses being closed. Uh, a couple, some people died that maybe didn't did not need to die. Oh, So these guys said, how are we gonna get these guys back on a job? And so they started setting fires. Wow. That's, it's pretty rare, right?

In your experience to, for firefighters to police officers, to, to do these type of acts. Uh, I never had a case with a police officer again, but I did have a couple with get call firefighters, you know, the volunteers or something like that. And they want, they want more action or they get paid just when they go to fires or something like that.

And a we've had a few of them set some fires, but nothing like this, this, uh, 264 buildings, they burned and they called caused over 200 firefighters to get injured during that time period. Yeah, I'm guessing that wasn't in their plan to hurt somebody. You know, they, uh, originally they chose abandoned buildings in Boston back then, uh, 30 years ago, uh, 40 years ago now, uh, Boston had a lot of just vacant dwellings all over the city.

And they're wide open and with nobody living in 'em, they said let's burn knees and this way, uh, we won't hurt any civilians. And then firefighters, uh, typically don't have to really go inside and they don't have to get trapped or anything like that. So that was the original plan. But. They went far beyond that.

Uh, they did commercial buildings, uh, one on June 3rd, 1980 2 33 firefighters got hurt. Uh, luckily none of them too seriously, but then October 2nd, 1980 2, 22 guys came fall through a roof and they broke their legs, their backs, and, uh, got some burns and some of 'em never came back on the job. And, but these guys continued October was their.

Third busiest month of their whole spree. I mean, these guys were setting up to 30 to 40 fires in a month. Wow. And that was the third busiest, even October 2nd is when all these guys got hurt and they had a meeting the next day and said, you know, we didn't plan on do you know, hurting anybody. And, uh, we gotta be more careful.

Three days later they said another commercial building on fire that could have resulted in the same exact thing. So. Did Boston well closing all that, all those companies and down, and then did they just suddenly see a spike in, in fires and think that in the initial beginning, this was just due to the closures.

Um, you know, There was a lot of theories about what was going on. It was, they were saying it was landlords. They were saying that the kids from the ghettos during the summertime, because the fire spiked up from about March, right through the summertime. And, um, you know, with the, so many firefighters being laid off, it could have been.

We had to even look at the unions and we didn't really, you know, that's a tough thing to do. Uh, especially we were working with Boston fire investigators side by side and start looking at their own guys who were laid off. It was really tough to do, um, And, um, now, you know, fires can happen during downturns in economy because people don't take care of the property as well, or buy new equipment or new washer and dryers or get it cleaned or something like that.

Um, that can happen. But in this case, the spike happens so rapidly that. It became very obvious in these abandoned buildings. They had no electricity, no heating, no cooking. So it became very obvious that they were all set fires. And, um, you know, we had to look at various individuals and groups and, uh, it took until November.

I remember the first fire is, uh, actually middle of February and it took till November to get our first break and get onto these guys. Wow. Did you and yeah, it probably was really tough trying to come up with a profile of who or what kind of group would be doing such a thing. You know, uh, profiling was really, uh, in its initial stages.

And, you know, we knew it couldn't be one person because it was just too many fires. We normally look at, look at the first group of fires and you say, oh, we have a nice small group. That person probably lives in this little area. Well, these fires were all over the eight different, uh, villages in Boston.

And then when we started doing surveillances and we're out in the streets a lot more, they went outside the. And eventually five counties were involved. They even went 40 miles away and they set four, multiple long fires, 40 miles away, and one night. And, uh, so it profiling didn't help us too much except to say these guys know what they're doing.

Um, I like that, you know? Yeah, yeah. That, that's pretty, pretty, pretty crazy. I mean, on such a, have such a massive scale and amount of fires. You know, over a kind of a short period of time, do you find that, uh, like people who set these fires come back to 'em and watch 'em? Well, in, in this case they did, um, it was around that time period.

Once people started filming the crowds for the very first time. So you could see repeat people, but fire above. So sparks the nickname is sparks. That's what they do. So it didn't matter if you saw the same guys there over and over, because they would jump in their cars when they hear on the radio, fire comes in.

Well, these guys would set the fire, then they'd go somewhere and wait until the fire came in and then they'd race to it. So it didn't matter that you saw this particular group of guys. Yeah. So what kind of manpower did it take to, to get these guys? You know, Boston arson itself, the, the fire investigation unit, they would go running to these fires every day.

They would doing most of the origin and cause trying to figure out, you know, exactly where and how it was set. And ATF wasn't really involved in that type of work at that time. Uh, except some of the larger ones we helped out with, uh, the bigger scenes. Um, but, uh, so you get the entire Boston. Fire investigation unit and some of the Boston PD, you got state fire marshals.

Once it went outside, the city of Boston, the state fire marshals are working and you have an entire Austin task force from ATF, which was, uh, at least eight guys might have had 10. And we had a Lieutenant from Boston fire assigned to us too. And we were working this every day, 10 guys all the time. And when we identified the first potential suspects, um, it got even busier.

Uh, we couldn't do surveillance on these guys, even because the cops and firefighters who on the back street in the middle of the night in neighborhoods where you'd spot a tail. So fast wow. That, that we couldn't even do it. And, you know, they jumped off all over the place. They went from, like I say, south of Boston to north of Boston in the same night and set fires and different towns.

Uh, so yeah, that would be, that would be rough to go to like, try to investigate one fire and then have to try to immediately go over to another side of town and investigate another one. Right. So it. A lot of manpower, a lot of hours. I mean, because it ended up being my case. I was working 10, 12 hours regularly.

And then when we made the first arrest in January of 84, so the first fire was February, 1982. The first arrest was the Boston cup in January of 84. And after that, we had to corroborate what he confessed to the first. And we couldn't talk to him again because he had an attorney federal court until may, at which point he decided to cooperate.

And that's when he started wearing a wire for us. So now we had 17 undercover meetings. We had to transcribe those recordings. We had to get ready for his court appearance. Then we had to get ready for the other eight arrests, which happened in July of 1984. That's a lot. Yeah. , that's a lot of, go ahead. I'm getting tired talking about yeah.

yeah, yeah. Yeah. How do you live when you're just working so many hours? Well, you know, I, I listen to some of your podcasts and I, I, you know, um, I understand what a lot of people in law enforcement and fire and, uh, military go through and it's that being away from home thing. You know, um, we worked holidays, we worked days and nights.

Um, you know, we were way a lot of times. And, uh, it did take a toll. I mean, you know, I had two young, right. Uh, my second daughter was born on June 25th, 1982. There were 10, multiple bonfires in Boston that night. 10. Yeah. So I have a one year old daughter and a newborn and my wife and where do I wanna be?

Right. I wanna be out trying to figure out what's going right. Get this thing stopped and get it done. Yeah. So, you know, in a sense, it's no surprise. I became an asset times. And, uh, uh, a few years later I got divorced the first time, you know? Well, the first time, the only time I'm, I'm happily married 27 years, the second time.

So yeah. But, uh, yeah, that, that had to effect right. Leading to a divorce mean how did that affect your kids growing up in probably the limited amount of time they got to see you, you know, um, Once I got the kids were, let's say, uh, eight and nine when we got divorced. And, um, you know, my last three years on a job, because I was also on a national response team, which respond to incidents any place in the country within 24 hours.

And we even went to Puerto Rico to the DuPont Plaza, hotel fire on, on new year's day. So I, I, you know, I had my daughters on. Like every Wednesday and then every other weekend type of thing. And you get certain cases and things that take your way. I was gone, uh, 12 weeks, uh, three years before I left then 14 weeks.

And then I was going 16 weeks, uh, my last year on the job. So, you know, it takes a tool on every. Yeah, it, it does. And it definitely takes a toll on our, on our kids, uh, being gone. So often I know as I talk to mine, as they've gotten, some of 'em gotten older, they're like, that's what they remember about you is like, oh, you are such a hard worker and you're gone all the time.

And that's that doesn't make me proud by any means to, you know, when they say that, you know what I tried to tell 'em. I said, dad has to go away and I'm not happy about it. I don't want to be away from you guys. And I know you're not happy, but the reason I'm going is because somebody's hurting more than we are somebody.

Yeah. Got hurt. Somebody lost their house, you know, a business. And that's what I do for work. So I'm sorry, but this is what it has to be, you know? Yeah. And were they receptive of that? Not too bad. They're, they're pretty well adjusted. They're both, they're both 39 and 40 now. And, uh, with kids, families, houses and, uh, jobs and everything.

So they, they seem pretty okay with that. Yeah.  they didn't go on to, to work in any of the fields of police or fire or anything. Not at all.  yeah. . Do you, they probably chased him away from that, with all your hard work and hours. I, I, I think I did. And, you know, coming home from fires once I started doing fires all the time.

Now I've been to 2300 fire and bombing or explosion incidents now, and you come home and you're dirty and you're tired and I'm not actually a guy that likes to be that dirty  yeah, I get, yeah, I get, but uh, you know, you dirty all the time and you stink a smoke, so you have to shower all the time and, you know, we didn't take any of our gear.

Like you're supposed to like. Uh, everything has to be decon and everything today, uh, before you brought home your, uh, BDU and you threw 'em in the washing machine, you know? Right, right. So all that crap you're taking home with you, you know? Yeah, yeah. Nothing that they yeah. Is suggestive of doing. Now, let's try to keep it far as away is from your house card and everything as possible.

Now, due to all the risks of, of cancer. Exactly. So 2300 incidents that has to take also a, a mental toll just on yourself. Yeah. Um, you know, uh, with ATF, uh, uh, a few times, you know, the two bombing cases in particular, um, I had one scene in, uh, Rochester where one of those Christmas packages was sent and it was the, uh, girlfriend's sister.

And her boyfriend who got killed immediately by the bomb. And when we got there, I mean, they died in the kitchen of their, um, garden style apartment and the body were still there. They didn't take 'em away because the evidence is there and that's what we had to retrieve. Right. Um, I was at the Olympic bombing.

I was on a job 22 years in 96. Yeah. I had never attended an autopsy. ATF agents don't get to autopsies too often in their careers. I was picked to go to the autopsy. Now, you know, one woman died from the blast and I attended that autopsy and the nails that were in the bomb embedded in her chest, right through her skull, uh, in her hand, her legs and just seeing an autopsy.

You never. Think of the human body again, the same way. Right? Uh, um, uh, then, you know, the DuPont Plaza, hotel fire, uh, 97 people died on new year's Eve and we were there. I was on a plane at 8:00 AM on new year's day. And we started working by the end of the day. And it took eight days for an FBI team air force, uh, crash team to pick.

87 of those bodies, which are pile on top of each other, trying to get out a 36 inch doorway. And we worked around that for eight days. And the smell of it does never go away. It's still Indian nostrils. Yeah. Uh, the, the visuals, um, the thought of these people, I interviewed a couple people who made it out alive and one worker, they had no plans whatsoever.

It's a casino. Where most of all 87 of the 97 died in the casino. They had no plan. The fire starts smoke's coming in. They closed the door to keep smoke out, but yet the gambling continued. They had no idea what to do with the money, what to do with the people. Um, eventually this one worker, uh, tried to get out one doorway with.

Over a hundred other people. And then the fire flashed over in the lobby right in front of them. So they had to close the door and now there's no place to go except break the 20 foot tall windows. And then it's a drop of about 15, 20 feet down to the pool area. And you know, one guy jumped down, turned around to catch his wife and flash over her.

The flames just occurred and she sat in that window for the next seven or eight days before she. Pulled out by the recovery team and that casino worker that I was talking to, he's calling his friend, Julio, Julio, come on, let's go Julio ignited from the way up, you know, because of the, the way fire works, right.

He ignited because of that heat coming down and just ignition temperature and Julio died, you know, that type of thing. Um, We had no peer counseling back then whatsoever. Um, you know, I talked, I did not write about that particular fire in my books because it's been covered well, uh, the wor the warehouse, you know, about the wor the warehouse.

Yeah. Yeah. We call the wor the, the wor the six we call 'em right. We, uh, three weeks before Christmas, 1999, we lost six firefighters and wor there's. 25 minutes from my house or so. And, uh, I responded immediately when I saw the news break in, on TV of this large fire. And I was there for the next 10 days and it took eight days to recover the remains of these firefighters that were just buried under five floors of smoldering for a few days.

So absolutely nothing left of the six. And. I watch those firefighters. And it's the last chapter in my second book, by the way, which is bang, boom burn. I don't know. Can you see it up here behind me? Yep. Yeah. Bang, boom, burn. The bang is for the gun cases. The boom is for the bombings and that burn is for the other fire cases.

That's the last chapter. There's a great book out there. I don't know the author's name, but 3000 degrees really gets you into the lives of the six firefighter. I read that as part of, uh, research for my one chapter Uhhuh, but I wanted my chapter to be through my eyes. What was going on in my head for the 10 day, for the 10 days up there, I'm watching these firefighters, the wor the firefighters and firefighters from all over new England assisting, but wor the was up on the deck trying to recover their comrades.

And we had heavy equipment lift off bucket after. Under the eyes of the state fire marshals office and they lower it and it gets raped out and looking for buttons from the uniforms, you know, any piece that they could find and the firefighters, the anguish, the, um, Tired look on their faces, but they wouldn't stop.

They kept up and kept it up and I'm watching this, uh, until my chance to get up there and investigate, you know? And, uh, I'm telling you my respect for firefighters, which I've had anyway. Uh, it just grew by unbelievable levels. Um, I will never forget those faces and there's great pictures online. If you look up with the, uh, warehouse fire photos and you'll see some of them, um, it just sends chills and I was just went at Wisconsin.

I do a large lost fire, um, seminar at times, and that's one of the fires. It was a big, uh, hotel. Auditorium type of thing. And I was walking down the aisle, talking to the group about the Worcester warehouse, halfway down the aisle. I broke down and this is 20 years after the fire 20 plus years after the fire, I had to walk back the other way, stand facing away from them and regroup before I could start talking again, that one just.

That one hits my heart. Yeah. Yeah. It's, it's, it's hard to know what kind of emotional responses you'll have to different things. And when, when you've been through so much like that. Yeah. Uh, you know, the individuals out there that you meet. And out of what? 2300 incidents. Oh, probably half of those are house fires and the rest will be commercial.

And you talk to either business owners or homeowners, whether they, whether there's injuries or not, not. The individuals has such a variety of responses. So I'm like, you know, wo was me to, I'm glad everybody made it out. Okay. We can rebuild. Yeah. We lost some personal stuff, but we'll, we'll do. Okay. You know, and some people have amazing responses and other people get.

Devastated, maybe some of the other ones didn't feel it yet. Yeah, maybe it didn't hit home yet. Uh, but, um, it just meeting so many people over a career and, uh, after writing the books, now I have done 45 live events of speaking and, uh, selling events and I have met police and fire and just civilian. From all over the United States and it's just amazing meeting new people and new friends.

Yeah. Yeah. Bet. What inspired you to, to write the books? Well, had the, the burn Boston burn was in my head for a long time. Um, I, I knew it was a story. Uh, so many people believe it should be a movie and I'll let a little bit off the hook that we're waiting for something right now. Um, it's getting very, it's getting much closer right now to come into that.

Uh, yeah, but, uh, so you know, it is part of Boston fire history. Um, As much as any conation would be, uh, because it's so unique and I had so much good information on that book and so much detail. Um, the Boston globe newspaper yeah. Was gonna write a, uh, Sunday magazine article on it. And this is, uh, 2018. And.

The reporter said, oh, maybe I'll do a bigger project on this. Like write a book. I think it was that very night. I started typing because I had been thinking about it and thinking about it. Yeah, that was, uh, year the red Sox won the, uh, last championship, uh, 2018. And in the background, I think we had 140 red games are   and I was type, I was still doing fires on the private side, but every night I was home.

I was typing away until about 11 o'clock at night. And, uh, I put 170,000 words together in 11 months. Wow. And, uh, got it down 150. And I understand when some people say, when you read some of the middle of it, it seems a little like Groundhog day because I didn't put 264 fires in there, but I probably mentioned about 140 of them.

And there is a little repetition in the. But I wanted the people to see that's the repetition that the arsonists were doing and that all the investigators were doing. So, right. So just some people, some people, it seemed a little like Groundhog day, you know, wake up and do it again, wake up and do it again.

Yeah. That's what you were doing. , that's what I was doing, you know, so I, you know, I just, there's something when I was growing up, I liked to write and stuff like that. So I. Put it together. And the process, have you written a book, Jerry? No, I have thought about it and I can't even imagine writing 170,000 words.

writing is the easy part in a sense it's everything afterwards. Um, you know, trying to get a tradi. I, it was self-published and, um, you know, I probably could have used a better editor or something too, but. Um, the editing process, the publishing process. If you try to go traditional publishing house, it's like organized crime.

you know, try to get it done. So everything is almost self learned and I'm still learning. Um, I'm thinking about a third book and, um, I learned more for the second book and I had a better editor process and, uh, I have computer programs now that help me edit it also that made it a better product to begin with.

So I'm actually going over be Boston burn right now and probably gonna revise it for a second edition type of thing. Wow. Yeah, I would imagine there's probably some therapy in writing these books. There definitely is. I mean, the stories I'm telling you, uh, um, a lot of it gets out on the pages. Um, You can in burn Boston burn, you can see the hours that we put in and the toll it takes, um, that type of thing.

And again, the Wist warehouse has only maybe an 18 page chapter in there, but it was meant to show you my feelings and it, it is on the pages. Um, you will feel that, you know, that type of thing, um, a gun case I had, um, I was an, a, an agent only for about a year or so, and I had an inform. Who had some information about some M sixteens in Maine?

Somehow I ended up going there just with the informant. We had no cover back. No, nobody behind me. And we ended up on a Saturday morning knocking at the door of this guy to cope back then you couldn't get ahold of him meas easily, and he didn't answer the phone. So we couldn't organize too well. And he jumped in the car with us with his common law wife.

And he said, pull over, let's stop at the package store at 9:00 AM. And we're sitting in the car driving the entire day and I'm sipping on a beer and we stop for lunch and sip on something. And then we go to his uncle's place who already sold guns to an ATF undercover agent. I knew that ahead of time. So I knew I was at the house where the guns.

It is now getting dark. When the guy I am looking at all of a sudden says to me, I saw that look on your face. He said, you're either a cop or a fed. I don't know what you're doing here. I don't know what, what the hell he brought you here for? Yeah. And we started arguing right there and then, and I said, freak you, I don't need this.

Yeah. Go out in the driveway. And he's still arguing with me. I got a piece on me. Yeah. But , I don't even know where I am. I don't even know, you know, we drove all these back roads up in mid-state Maine and I'm in the dark now at this guy's house. And I have no idea how to get out of there. And once I got away from the guy and survived, I could have been buried.

Next to the lake, China lake up in Maine and nobody would ever know, you know? Yeah, yeah. That type of stuff. And, you know, stupid stuff that we did, you know, they don't allow that anymore.  right. I would imagine that I would imagine not, no, you know, you have to have everything. The, uh, Ts cross and the I doted and you have to have cover teams of course, and stuff like that.

But I used to buy drugs for the state of Rhode Island before I got on ATF. And your cover teams are out in the car about, uh, 200 yards away. Uh, what were they gonna do for you? If something happened? Yeah, they are going to finish the arrest, I hope. And, uh, yeah. And hopefully you have a chance of surviving yeah.

Being far away. Yeah. Yeah. We did some crazy things. Has technology helped? Oh, absolutely. I mean, Now you can wear eyeglasses that has the camera, or, you know, you can put it in your, the bill of your hat. Um, and microphones are so small back then we wore Nara recording devices that were about this big and about half an inch thick and they taped the body and I'm a hairy guy.

Yeah.  and, and. When they tore that tape off, there was a lot of hair that came up, but, uh, things I felt like I was wearing something that was like a target. Right. You know, when, when I did some undercover work, when I did have a wire. Um, now it's the smallest thing. It's a pen in your pocket or it could be anything they can disguise.

'em so easily now, you know? Yeah, yeah. That probably would've made your job a whole lot easier back then. And a lot safer. It would've made me feel a lot better.  yeah. Yeah. I would imagine wearing a wire back then was probably very hard to conceal. Yeah. Like I said, the size of it was awful that that's only the recording device.

You also had a transmitter. So you had two different devices on back then in case one failed, you might get the recording afterwards, you know? Yeah. Um, even when we wired, uh, GSKi up for some inf. In person meetings with some of his, uh, fellow Aness, uh, we had to come up with some creative ways to, uh, hide the devices because one day they went to a guy's house in the summertime to a swimming pool.

So he couldn't put it on his body. You know, so we had to think creatively and, um, yeah, and we even had cars wired up back then. Uh, but the car I was driving up in Maine that day had a push button that I could transmit from the car, but who was I transmitting to? In a great state of Maine  and nobody's out there listening , you know.

Wow. Wow. Yeah, that, that's, that'd be pretty, pretty interesting to read your stories and hear about these, uh, different accounts and yeah, that would be incredibly stressful working a lot of these type of cases on your own and incredibly risky. And I'm sure did your family realize how risky your job. Even like, uh, my kid sister's about five years younger than me and she just read the second book and she said, I didn't realize any of this stuff.

You, you were a nut  yeah.

You know, and then my father doesn't read books typically he's 93. Now he doesn't read books, but, uh, you know, she told him stories. He. I can't believe you did some of this stuff, you know? Yeah. Yeah. I bet. You know, I never told these stories to them. Yeah.  Wayne. Where can people find you and, and get ahold of these books?

Sure. Um, I have my own website, uh, just burn Boston, burn.com. Even I'm on Facebook, the same way, burn Boston, burn, LinkedIn burn, Boston burn, you know, type of thing. But, uh, they can find it there. If they, if they go to my website and just hit with their credit card, PayPal button, I actually have the books right upstairs in my house here, and I will sign the book and put it in the envelope and get it out to you the very next day.

Um, otherwise you can get it from Amazon. Various online places like Walmart, uh, target, I think still has it online or some bonds and Nobles has it, you know, that type of thing. So yeah, that, that takes a lot of work to, uh, actually take someone's order, sign the book and ship it out. That's a, that's a lot of, uh, work and dedication, but I hope the listeners take that opportunity to do that.

You know, and plus the ones that I have have the only color photos, ah, the, the Amazon ones and the ones in any bookstore or any El, anything else, they just have black and white. Um, be Boston burn probably has eight color and maybe another dozen black and white, because that's what the photographer took back then.

And, um, uh, burn, uh, bang, boom burn. Has about, uh, 15 color photos that you're only gonna see black and white, if you get it elsewhere. So it's very comparable price and there's no nothing else included in the mailing. It's just the price that you pay on that PayPal button. And, uh, I get it out to you the very next day.

Yeah. You know? Yeah. There's a lot of value in the color pictures. I mean, there's some coolness about some black and whites, but there's just, you know, when you take a color picture right. Brings it to. Yeah, especially, you know, fire stuff a lot of times. And, uh, some of the maps that I put in a second book, things like that.

Um, and like I say, I usually sign it with a little caption. If, if you're a firefighter or something, I'll put something, uh, police officer, or even, you know, just civilians. I always write a little note, you know, Yeah. That's a lot. I really like that. Yeah. Touch. When you get that personal touch to someone left you little note, and every time I open up that book, it'll, it'll be there for you.

That's right. You know, I sit upstairs in my, uh, I got an easy chair up there and both my books are on bookstand on a little table across from me. And I still look at 'em and sort of shake my head that, uh, that I. Did it, you know? Yeah. Like I say, uh, Bebo burn Boston burn very likely is gonna become, uh, possibly both a documentary and a dramatic series.

So I, I hope that happens cuz I will definitely watch that. That'll be incredibly informative and amazing to see how that all took. Yeah. Yeah. It'll be a lot of fun too. It'll be a lot of fun putting it together. So yeah, Wayne, I appreciate having on having you on today and sharing so many great stories and I encourage the listeners to get his books and, you know, read those and, uh, and we will all be hoping and praying that those come out into something we can watch on TV.

Yep, exactly. So thank you so much for having. Yeah. Uh, and thank you for the incredible work that your show does. Um, again, I did not know about you beforehand and when you, you guys reached out to me, I started listening and there's a lot of incredible stuff. Thank you. Cool. Keep it up. Yeah. I have some exciting things that are happening too soon.

And, uh, I'll leak a little something out maybe here, uh, on this episode that, uh, a streaming channel has contacted me and looking to, for me to get involved so they can help, uh, Support first responders with their, with their causes and doing like little telethons and having, you know, uh, guests like yourself, share some of their stories and, and, and possibly even businesses and stuff here in the future.

So, uh, we're, that's in the, that's in the works, uh, for something like that too. So very good. Yeah. I like to teach, uh, uh, besides a 45. In person events, which a lot of are instructing about teaching points from the book. But, um, you know, I taught before that, uh, two years at community college and uh, 80 times around the country doing fire investigation teaching.

I like that a lot. And I like, I believe in passing things on to the people behind you. Yeah. You know, there's a lot of value that our experience. Can give to other people. Yeah, I totally agree. I mean, to, you know, go to 2300 fires and you, you have so much knowledge and experiences, you know, the fires and the bombings and the gun cases that, you know, it's, it's invaluable, right?

It's you, you have to pass that on to, to make the next person better. If this is gonna take your job. Right. And you, you know, you don't make a lot of money from books. No. Like Amazon, Amazon pays me $4 and 60 cents for a $30 book, you know, but, uh, uh, I've been fortunate enough that I don't need the money from the book.

They just go back into buying the more books that I have upstairs. And, uh, I have put, uh, in the last three years, over $7,000 into fire victim charity. At this point. Oh, awesome. Awesome. Is, and is that just something just portion of your proceeds or just depending on your teaching and stuff like that?

Yeah. Every, every state I go to, I choose a local, uh, charity. And when every year I still give like two, uh, whether it's red cross for five victims out in California, uh, whether it's, uh, local fire victims, uh, every year I still donate from proceeds from the. Very cool. So one last question, before I let you go, are you still, if someone's listening to this and may want you to come to their department or speak or come to their state and speak, do they just get a hold of you through burn Boston burn?

Yeah, I mean, that'll get 'em. My website has my email, which is author Wayne Miller, gmail.com. Author a UT H O R. Uh, because I don't, my, my accent might not be good for everybody  so, but, uh, yeah, they can get it to my website. My, uh, contact's on there anyway. And, uh, I love traveling to other states. Uh, right now I've been in probably 16 different states talking about the story behind the book and, uh, altogether I've worked in 43 states, so that's great.

That's great. Well, maybe if this new adventure with, uh, pans out, we'll be meeting again and, uh, going over something similar to. Very good. Good luck. All right. Thank you, Wayne. Appreciate it. You take care. Thank you. Thanks again for listening. Don't forget to rate and review the show wherever you access your podcast.

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Wayne M. MillerProfile Photo

Wayne M. Miller


Did uc work for State of RI and Dennis, MA PD (ages 20-22). ATF Special Agent in Boston (1976-2001). Worked gun cases 4 yrs, then concentrated on fires and explosions until retirement including Certified Fire Investigator and National Response Team member. Worked many large fatal fires and bombing cases. Worked fires and explosions for 17+ years on private side after ATF. Authored 2 books based on cases I worked on, BURN BOSTON BURN and BANG BOOM BURN. Taught around the US and did over 45 live speaking events on the books.