Ever heard about Phosphor and Natrium?
Phosphor continues to burn underwater and Natrium, even better, goes up in flames if it comes in contact with water. So fire is no excuse for not making underwater civilizations. They are completely possible up to Society stage. If Phosphor and Natrium are both present in the environment a species can discover fire and control it. Natrum lits the Phosphor, and maybe there are rich Phosphor reservoirs around. I need to go to Breakfast now, bye.