The salamander is both a mythical and real-world creature. The name 'salamander' is derived from the Greek word 'salamándra' that is loosely interpreted as meaning 'fire lizard'; the real animal being an amphibian, and the mythical a fire dwelling lizard. Due to the nature of this site, let's focus on the mythical side, shall we?
Salamanders have been said to be able to both create and put out flames, and in some cases are borne of fire themselves. However, in some stories they are merely fire resistant. In Faery legend salamanders are credited with having taught the first humans how to make fire. Interestingly, there are versions of their origins stating that they were created in the furnaces of glass blowers who kept their furnaces stoked for several days and nights. They are often described as small lizards, but have also been known to be depicted as small glowing lights, and on rare occasion traditional faery-like humanoid beings.
The most likely basis for this myth is found in the real life salamanders, which are known to hibernate through the winter in logs that were then picked up and used to fuel fires. As a result of being tossed into a roaring inferno, they would wake up and scamper out of the fire. To the unknowing person, they would seemingly appear from the flames themselves. So if you ever find yourself with a salamander in your fire, don't worry, salamanders are known for their abnormally cool exterior and are able to withstand a short stint in your fireplace.